Two tough tests await

Stefan Marsh

Stefan Marsh

First published in Sport Runcorn and Widnes World: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Sports Writer

VIKINGS have no time to lick their wounds after Friday’s mauling by Hull with two massive challenges coming up.

Tonight’s trip to Wigan is followed by Sunday’s home clash against a Leeds side boasting the strongest squad in the competition.

The three game sequence is certainly the toughest challenge being offered up to any team this term, but coach Denis Betts believes it may be just the test they need.

Betts said: “The lads were disappointed with Friday's performance because it had a taste of two years ago on the scoreboard and we responded poorly to certain things that evening.

“We pulled ourselves back together again and had a good chat after the game - and then we get an ‘easy’ run in.

“Sometimes you need a tough game to get you back on line.”

Betts has a couple of selection headaches after he lost both centres Chris Dean and Stefan Marsh (left) with head knocks.

The ruling did leave him a little frustrated given that Dean was fine at half time and is good to play now but has to sit it out because of the protocol.

Vikings do have players returning to the fray with Cameron Phelps, through necessity, back a game early to face his former club and Patrick Ah Van returning on the wing.

Betts added: “Pat Ah Van has been training well for a few weeks – so Rhys Hanbury drops out because he has a couple of knocks to his leg and the turnaround is short.”

Jack Owens will move to full back to accommodate Ah Van, but Betts is comfortable with that.

“I have confidence in Jack, who has had some fantastic games at full back, and it lets us get Patrick back. We need to get him some matches to get the best out of him the next three months,” he said.

Betts and his assistant Mick Cassidy are among a number of Wigan old boys returning to their former club.

It is a clash that the players can lift for after Friday’s disappointment.

He said: “It is a tough game – in between Hull and Leeds – but these are the sorts of games you want to get excited about.

I’d have preferred to have been going there on a Friday night or a Sunday but hopefully the sunshine will bring out a decent crowd.

“The group want to put right that scoreline on Friday and put a good performance in.”

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