Betts targets play-off spot

Runcorn and Widnes World: Denis Betts - looking ahead to Vikings progress Denis Betts - looking ahead to Vikings progress

A PLACE in the Super League play-offs and enjoying a longer run in the Challenge Cup are the two realistic objectives head coach Denis Betts has set out for Vikings.

After landing the wooden spoon in their first year back in the top flight, Vikings climbed to tenth last term.

But Betts, who last week agreed to a two-year extension to his stay at Widnes taking him until the end of 2016, believes there is still much work to do to build the club and squad back up to turn it into a genuine contender for honours.

Betts, who was last week playing sevens rugby union for the Joining Jack team in Dubai, said: “I’m delighted to have signed a deal for another two years. I’m enjoying working at the club and with some excellent people.

“We are in a really strong situation. We have a very good Board of Directors, playing staff and fan base but there is still so much to do.

“We are making good progress but we won’t rest on our laurels.

“We are building a squad that over the next three or four years will compete at the very top and to get the opportunity to drive us forward for another two years is great for me personally.”

There has not been a great turnover of staff at Vikings in the off-season, with Gareth Hock and Frank Winterstein departing, with Danny Tickle and Danny Galea effectively slotting in to replace them.

However, the retirement of big Ben Cross does leave a big hole in Vikings pack lacking some size, and one which will miss Hock’s aggression.

Galea, will, however, be an honest no-nonsense grafter as Widnes look ahead to overtaking some of the teams they were close to last term – Bradford and Hull KR.

With Super league expected to lose the bottom two teams at the end of 2014, there will be something of a dogfight in the lower half.

But Betts has his eyes fixed upwards at the top end.

“The goals we have set are achievable but we won’t put the club in a difficult position in terms of spending.

“Playing play-off Rugby League in October and making an impact at the latter stages of the Challenge Cup is not over reaching for us - we can get there and I will be doing everything in my power to achieve those aims.”

Widnes will blast off a few cobwebs at the end of the month when they tackle Warrington in their festive friendly.

"Obviously, the lads are keen to get back out onto the field and play against an opposition from the upper reaches of the Super League table, so that they can truly test themselves and assess where each other is at before we really step up preparations for the 2014 season.

"We've had some really good run-outs in these fixtures in previous years, and it's also great for the supporters, who will be able to see some action in the off-season against our nearest local rivals," Betts said.

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