HIGH-flying Vikings will head into Sunday’s home clash with crisis club Bradford Bulls in buoyant mood and with high expectations of consolidating their place in the top four.
Although Widnes will be missing the suspended packman Willie Isa they have a number of fit-again players to call upon including forwards Hep Cahill and Eamon O’Carroll.
That will give coach Denis Betts a welcome selection headache for a match they will be confident of winning after their rip-roaring start to the campaign.
Although Bradford’s players have gamely tried to show some spirit in the face of uncertainty off the field they remain anchored near the foot of the table after having six points deducted for going into administration.
Vikings will not be taking victory for granted, nor looking to give Bulls a leg up, as they aim keep pushing on at the top end of the table.
Isa misses a game after opting to take an early guilty plea after being charged for recklessly striking Hull’s Aaron Heremaia with his shoulder in Sunday’s win.
He will be missed, having added some real bite to Vikings’ nitty-gritty work in harassing the opposition, but Cahill and Macgrath Leuluai can perform a similar function for the team.
Betts said: “It is a tough one for Willie to take given how well he is playing at the minute, but they are the rules at the moment.
“As for the game, we will get about our business. There are people in the group that push each other.
“My job is to keep that focus on skill level, detail and turn up to win a rugby league game.
“We know we are going to have to work hard this week because what has happened (beating Hull) won’t help us apart from giving us the confidence that we are doing the right thing.”
On song prop forward Phil Joseph has made his physical presence tell in the games so far this season.
He is looking forward to playing against one of his former clubs.
He said: “We are not worried about Bradford’s internal affairs; we are taking this week very seriously and turn up with a professional performance.
“There is pressure for places here because we know there are lads behind us really champing at the bit to get in the team.
“We know one bad game and you are out, but that is bringing the best out of us.”
Sunday’s game kicks off at 3pm.
Meanwhile Vikings have announced that their away fixture with Wigan, re-arranged from the start of the year, will take place on Wednesday, 18 June.
It means that the Round 15 game against Hull FC will be brought forward to Friday, 13 June.
The Wigan game was postponed due to the World Club Challenge.