Widnes upbeat ahead of cup semi

Widnes go in to this weekend’s Northern Rail Cup semi final against Halifax on a high after an excellent performance against Featherstone last week.

Head Coach Paul Cullen insists the off-field problems that have threatened to derail his side’s season are now behind the Vikings, following their 46-22 win over Rovers on Saturday.

Cullen said: “There has been enough headlines for things that have gone on that shouldn’t have gone on at this club.

“Our off-field problems have been well documented and reported.

“It’s felt at times like we have been taking a couple of steps forward and then a couple more back. It has taken a lot of fighting, pain and discomfort but all that nonsense is behind us and has been put right.

“Now it is time to focus on the players that are playing very well as they are doing what is right for Widnes.

“Saturday’s performance was evidence that this club is starting to head in right direction

“The Featherstone game was a clear example of how I want us to play rugby league.”

Staff, including former head coach Steve McCormack and assistant John Stankevitch, and players, including full back Loz Wildbore, have left the club in a turbulent few months for the Cheshire club.

But they can move themselves to within 80 minutes of their second Northern Rail Cup success with a win at The Shay on Sunday.

The club has laid on free coaches for fans, and 12 have been fully booked by Widnes fans hoping their side can avenge the two defeats they suffered to Halifax earlier in the season in the league and Challenge Cup.

Cullen added: “We will approach the game differently this time as we have different personnel.

“The last two games at The Shay came thick and fast and with little time to think about it or prepare.

“Now we are finally training on our own terms and we are fitter and more disciplined.

“Tactically we will play to our strengths, use our assets and try to keep the ball away from them.”

The other semi-final, between Barrow and Featherstone, takes place this evening live on SKY.

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