Widnes Vikings to be rocked by another exit with pressure mounting

Josh McAllister
Zach Eckersley Widnes Vikings SWpix

Photo: Olly Hassell/SWpix

Widnes Vikings are set to suffer a further blow to their playing squad with loanee Zach Eckersley to be recalled by his parent club Wigan Warriors.

The 19-year-old outside-back is expected to join a rival Championship side on loan in the immediate future.

Eckersley initially joined Widnes on loan in April under-then head coach John Kear, and has gone on to score fives tries in eight appearances for the Championship side, including a debut hat-trick in the 48-16 win over Swinton Lions on Good Friday.

Wigan boss Matt Peet has previously hinted at first team action for the centre, who has impressed during his loan spell at the DCBL Stadium.

“He’s a really promising talent,” Peet told Love Rugby League this week.

“He’s a centre and can play a bit of full-back as well. He has trained excellently today in training so Zach is doing a lot right.”

More blows to Widnes Vikings

His exit is a further blow to the Vikings, who recently agreed to let Jordan Johnstone join Castleford Tigers on a season-long loan earlier this week.

The 26-year-old former Hull hooker returned to Widnes ahead of the 2023 campaign, with a year remaining on his contract for next season.

Widnes recently departed ways with boss Kear following a poor run of results, with the side currently outside the play-offs in eighth position and only two points ahead of York, Keighley and Swinton on 12.

Barrow sit in the relegation zone with 11, while Newcastle Thunder have won just two games all year, as well as one draw.

Two will go down to League 1 at the end of the season, with Widnes not quite safe from the drop with just one win in their last eight.

Head of operations Chris Hamilton recently rejected reports regarding budget cuts for next year, although it is believed some players have been asked to re-sign on much less for the 2024 campaign and even more departures expected.

Examiner Live have reported that the Vikings risk losing half-back Danny Craven to Oldham for 2024 with an ‘attractive offer’ from the League 1 club.

Craven, 31, has spent almost all his career at Widnes since his debut in 2012, having also featured on loan at Halifax and Featherstone, as well as short stints with Workington Town and Whitehaven.

Widnes also continue their search for their next permanent head coach, with pressure mounting.

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