VIKINGS have suffered an early injury blow with new signing Liam Carberry breaking his leg in the sixth minute of Sunday’s friendly against North Wales Crusaders.

X-rays have revealed that young hooker, who signed from Wigan in the off season, has fractured his fibula and was due to see a specialist on Tuesday to assess the full extent of the injury.

It is a bitter blow for the 20-year-old who had been making a big impression at training.

Vikings boss Denis Betts said: “He is so unlucky because he has trained the house down and worked really hard. I was looking forward to seeing him push on this year.”

Despite that set-back, the game against the Crusaders gave the squad a much needed run out but Betts believes the next off-season game – over in France - will take it up a further notch.

“These games give you what training can’t. Overall I was pleased with Kevin Brown in the first half and our forward pack in the second and how strong we looked defensively.

“Now we have to step it up against a big Super League team. What I wanted to do was take us out of our comfort zone in our pre-season, which is what we are doing by going over to France to play Catalan.

“That gives us a reality check at the start of the year on where we are – make us realise what is around the corner,” he said.

The warm-up games have had another valuable purpose, with Vikings being able to run the rule over Liam Hulme as a triallist.

Hulme, the son of former Chemics and Great Britain forward Paul, has had spells at Warrington and Swinton.

Vikings boss Betts has made it clear that he would like to bring him home to Widnes.

He said: “Liam Hulme went very well – he has been exceptional pro has come in and trained his socks off. I can’t keep him as a triallist any more so I have to sit down with my staff and find out where our budgets are and what we can do right now.

“He has been fantastic for us and I would love to keep him if we can. He has played nine for us but he can be a back rower.

“He shone defensively against Crusaders and with his passing. I know he has got a good genetic make-up, but he is a talented kid and if we can offer him an opportunity then that is what we will try and do.”