THREE good performances and two wins have lifted Vikings off the foot of the table and given them a springboard to attack the rest of the season.

With the competition splitting in six rounds Widnes can approach this crucial part of the campaign with optimism after coming through a tough period of three games in 10 days.

Although making the top eight will be tough, at least they approach this part of the campaign playing with some belief and confidence after a tough, injury-hit campaign.

Boss Denis Betts said: “It is important to put some in some consistent performances and so to get three, starting with Castleford, was crucial.

“Our home form and our consistency at home has to be better for our supporters and for our own good – and we have delivered.

“The young side’s fearless approach against Castleford inspired the next two performances.”

Widnes are four points off the top eight, and although not impossible, it would need a strong run of wins and a drop off by the clubs above them to avoid a Middle 8s battle.

But with Tom Gilmore, Lloyd White and Joe Mellor due back in training this month and Rangi Chase getting his feet under the table at seven, Betts expects key men back during the business end of the campaign.

“There is still a long way to go in this year and still a lot of rugby to be played after the split.

“Although we will pick teams to win, we have got to be smart.

“There is a crucial part of the season where we need our best players fit.

“So we won’t be playing any players too early and breaking them when they are only half fit.

“We have to be smart at the way we look at the squad and use it.

“We will need the exuberance of youth and the quality of experience,” Betts said.