Widnes Vikings provide update on head coach search as club doubles down on budget cuts reports: ‘Total rubbish!’ 

Josh McAllister
Widnes Vikings duo Adam Lawton and Joe Edge. Photo by Mark Percy/Alamy Live News.

Widnes Vikings duo Adam Lawton and Joe Edge. Photo by Mark Percy/Alamy Live News.

Widnes Vikings head of operations Chris Hamilton says the club are working through a number of applicants for their vacant head coach role.

He also reiterated that the Championship side are not currently undergoing any budget cuts, rejecting reports.

The Vikings sacked veteran of the game John Kear at the end of June, having then just won seven from 16 games in the season.

Neil Belshaw has since acted as interim head coach, starting with the trip to Toulouse which resulted in a 40-28 defeat in France.

Live on Viaplay Sports on Monday night, Widnes returned to winning ways with an impressive 31-14 victory at home to Bradford Bulls in Round 18 of the Championship campaign.

It marked the side’s first win since May’s Summer Bash in York, with a 38-6 score over Swinton Lions.

Speaking with Viaplay Sports presenter Ross Fiddes, Hamilton gave an update on the club’s search for their next permanent head coach.

Widnes Vikings search for head coach update

“A couple of weeks ago now, we dispensed with the services of John Kear, which sounds a bit harsh, but obviously we were on a bad run of form and we still are and we felt we needed to do something about that,” Hamilton explained.

“We’ve got Neil Belshaw in as interim head coach at the moment. I’ve got to take my hat off to Neil, he’s stepped up and he’s doing a good job.

“With regards to getting a full time replacement, we’re on with that.

“We’ve had quite a number of applicants and we’ve been working through that.

“We’re also conscience to make sure that we don’t just meander through the rest of the season.

“We need to make sure we get the right person in so that we can get back on track and look forward not only to the end of this season, but moving forward.”

Hamilton once again rejected reports that the club are currently undergoing budget cuts.

It is believed that some players have been asked to accept reduced wages to re-sign for the 2024 campaign, while a handful are expected to leave at the end of the campaign.

Half-back Danny Craven has been linked with a move to League 1’s Oldham by Examiner Live, while the club expect to have Jordan Johnstone return for 2024 from his loan spell at Castleford in Super League, with a year remaining on his deal.

Impressive Wigan loanee Zach Eckersley, who scored five tries in eight appearance, has recently joined fellow Championship side Barrow on an initial one-month deal.

“It’s ridiculous,” Hamilton stated.

“There are no budget cuts, there are no financial problems.

“I would say a lot of Championship clubs would be envious of our position. So that’s just total rubbish.”

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