NEW Vikings hooker Liam Carberry is raring to go in his new club colours after spending 18 months out of the game at Wigan.
The 20-year-old, who scored a try on his debut in the festive friendly against Warrington, has put in the hard graft during the off-season to give himself a fighting chance of starting the season in Denis Betts' 17.
There will be tough competition - skipper Jon Clarke currently wears the number nine shirt and Welsh international Lloyd White has been doing shifts off the bench at dummy half, but the former Bold Miners junior is looking forward to the challenge.
And after long lay off with an ACL injury, sustained at Wigan Warriors, the new season cannot come quickly enough .
He said: “I can’t wait for the new season to start - it's a fresh challenge for me at Widnes. I enjoyed the derby against Warrington and it was good just to get out there and play 60 minutes.
“To be honest there were times that I thought that the day I’d run out there would never come.
“But I've worked hard to get back and I was pleased with how it went.”
Carberry marked his debut with a try and the Man of the Match award but he insists there's more hard work ahead before he can get too excited.
“I was surprised how much more I had in the tank before I came off.
“I still had a bit more in me and that's probably down to the pre-season we have had under Clive Brewer, our Head of Strength and Conditioning," Carberry said.
Lifting heavy weights, intense cardio sessions and hill runs on the dunes of Formby have been just some of the activities the Vikings have endured this pre-season.
“We've had it tough but that's what you need going into a Super League season," Carberry added.
“There's places to play for and all the lads are doing everything to be in Denis' plans this year.
“I think we can really kick on this season. We haven't really spoke about goals as a group yet but personally I think we can push for the 8th spot and the play-offs,”
Vikings will travel to Perpignan to face Catalans Dragons in a Pre-season friendly at Gilbert Brutus Stadium.