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Fight is on for starting spots in Widnes Vikings side against London Broncos
NEW signings Danny Tickle, Danny Galea and Paul Johnson are in the mix to make their Super League debuts as the 2014 season arrives at the Select Security Stadium on Sunday.
Hooker options Jon Clarke and Lloyd White are also fighting for places in the Widnes Vikings ranks against London Broncos.
Head coach Denis Betts will decide later in the week if skipper Clarke or Wales international White have shown enough in training to indicate they are ready for action, having not figured in any pre-season friendlies.
With Clarke (lower back) and White (knee) absent for rehabilitation, Danny Craven took up the number nine duties in the last friendly away to Catalan Dragons and could continue after impressing Betts.
“It’s a case of finding a place in the team for Danny at the moment,” said Betts.
“He’s that kind of player and his contribution to the side is fantastic.
“His kicking game is phenomenal and probably has one of the best left foots I’ve ever seen - and that’s having spent a lot of time in rugby union as well.
“Watching Danny kick the ball out of his hands is fantastic and I think he deserves to be in our squad.”
Broncos’ preparation for the season has been poor, with their apperance in the competition only confirmed with a ground move to The Hive in Barnet well into pre-season.
A stack of players and staff left, and the club have still been recruiting this week – with France half back Tony Gigot the latest of 12 new arrivals and 21 departures, while ex-Widnes hooker Scott Moore has also come on board after a stint in Australia.
Broncos, still led by Tony Rea but withex-Vikings scrum half Sean Long now on his coaching staff, are most pundits’ favourites to finish as one of the two relegated teams at the end of the 27 rounds.
Betts has watched Broncos’ pre-season games and said: “They’re young, enthusiastic and picking up players all the time.
“If a team turns up with the wrong attitude against them they are going to get burnt.
“It’s a mental process that we need to have right.”