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Cup nous can fire Vikings
DENIS Betts insists reaching Wembley, not his own decorated Challenge Cup past, is Widnes Vikings’ motivation for a run in the competition ahead of their fourth round tie.
Betts, who won the Challenge Cup on seven occasions as a player with Wigan between 1989 and 1995, takes Vikings to Championship side Halifax on Sunday.
But the former Great Britain international admits he will instead be drawing on the experiences of players like Jon Clarke, Kevin Brown and Paul Clough to galvanise his charges “Everybody wants to play at Wembley, every player wants to go and be involved in that final,” he said.
“Jon and Cloughy have been there and won and Kevin’s been there and lost, so we’ve got players in there who understand what it’s like – it’s more powerful coming from them.
“My job is making sure the club is moving in the right direction, but me playing eight Challenge Cup finals, five or six Championships and a couple of Grand Finals doesn’t give them any motivation.”
Halifax head into the cup tie on the back of a 48-6 victory over Doncaster and Betts is expecting a tough visit to the Shay Stadium.
“It’s the same if you go to Featherstone away or Sheffield away,” he added.
“Our focus has got to be high, we’ve got to pick the best team possible.
“If we don’t turn up with the right attitude then we’ll get what we deserve.
“The cup is important to us, there are no second chances and you have to turn up ready to play.
“Any of those top half Championship teams, on their own ground, are always going to be very tough, they’ve got lots of Super League experience in their side.”
Eamon O’Carroll and Willie Isa are both available for selection again and Betts believes Vikings have competition for places in the forwards.
“The beauty about where we are at the moment is the players are not playing because they are playing badly, but because others are playing better,” he said.
“I can only pick 17 blokes. It’s a good spot to be in with our forwards, but the backs are just falling off a bit.”
Sunday’s game at the Shay kicks off at 2pm.