Vikings' partnership with North Wales Crusaders is a natural fit

Runcorn and Widnes World: Denis Betts - a chance to develop our younger players Denis Betts - a chance to develop our younger players

WIDNES Vikings will partner newly promoted North Wales Crusaders for the forthcoming 2014 season.

The club have ended their dual-registration link up with Workington Town citing geographical difficulties.

With the ambitious Crusaders already training on Vikings’ i-pitch it will make for a smoother operation.

Crusaders, who are based at Wrexham, finished top of Championship 1 last season and have made some good signings for the year ahead.

James Rule Vikings CEO said: “Last year we had a fantastic partnership with Workington. In reality the geographical distance between our clubs made things a little restrictive, whereas the Crusaders already train here and utilise our gym and performance centre.

“Following their promotion it therefore felt like a natural fit to enter into this partnership.

“I wish to thank Workington for their support and wish them the best of luck next season. We now look forward to developing a great partnership with North Wales Crusaders."

The deal will see players, who need game time, made available to the Crusaders.

Vikings head coach Denis Betts said: “This is a great opportunity to build a relationship with North Wales Crusaders and also presents us with a chance to help develop our younger players at a competitive level.”

His counterpart at Crusaders, Clive Griffiths, added: “Using the facilities at Widnes has so far helped us have a successful 2013 campaign and again allowed us a great start to pre season and we need to keep up that momentum.

“Denis and I are on the same wave length when it comes to loan and dual registrations. It’s going to be a long, physical and demanding season and a professional partnership with Widnes will prove an added advantage.”

Crusaders Jamie Thomas chief executive added that 2014 was a massive challenge for his club, with some tough opponents in the Championship.

“It’s essential for us to meet that challenge head on by giving ourselves the best chance to be competitive, which is why we've been working so hard on the off season to recruit players of real quality to add to our existing squad, who were outstanding last year.

“To go hand in hand with that we need the best possible facilities to prepare the squad. With Widnes it opens up access to one of the best facilities in Super League.”

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