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Vikings set their sights on Eamon O'Carroll
VIKINGS have expressed an interest in Hull’s robust prop Eamon O’Carroll, who has been told to look for another club.
The 25-year-old Irish international made more than 60 appearances for Wigan Warriors from 2005 before his move to Humberside.
But Hull’s signing of Liam Watts from their Rovers neighbours has left O’Carroll out in the cold despite penning a three-year deal at the start of the season.
The hard working Oldham-born front rower would be a useful addition for a Vikings club that is still intent on building the quality the squad without breaking the bank.
The senior management at Stobart Stadium this week felt their approach to recruitment in a difficult first year back in Super League has been vindicated by Bradford Bulls’ descent into administration.
Although some quality players will become available at Odsal when the administrators conduct their fire sale, Vikings will not be jumping in feet first.
Head coach Denis Betts said: “Bradford have two or three players that would really help us, but they are not cheap players and that is why Bradford are in this situation.
“They are in this position because they have stockpiled, overpaid and gone after players that they should not have gone after, all to try and stay at the top end of the table.
“We may be bottom of the table, but we are living within our means. We may have a £25,000 centre playing against a £100,000 centre, but we will still be here next year.
“That is the reality of running a club as a business rather than as a hobby.
“The problem with our game in general is what do you do?
“The reason Bradford have gone into administration is because they are the worst of the lot. It does not mean that other clubs are that far off (going a similar way).”
Director of rugby Paul Cullen said the Bradford crisis vindicates the tough decisions Vikings have had to make in this fledgling first year back in the top flight.
“The Bulls situation is another classic example of ‘if you spend money that you haven’t got and your business is unsustainable then you deliver that to supporters who deserve better’.
“We as a club know that only too well because Widnes have been in that position before. On this watch one of our main briefs is that we don’t go there again.
“The critics are right. This is not the strongest squad Widnes have put together in their long and proud history but at the minute this is the squad we can afford and we have to work long and hard to find revenue streams to bring in a quantity of higher quality players – or go down the Bradford route.”
Meanwhile Widnes suffered two more injury blows in Monday’s defeat at Wigan with on-song centre Willie Isa bravely playing on with a hyper-extended elbow and full back Shaun Briscoe sustaining a torn pectoral muscle.
Vice-captain Briscoe, who was making his first appearance for almost three months, now faces another spell on the sidelines.
“It has been one of those years for him,” Betts said.
“We’ve missed his influence. His character is really good around the place so he's another big loss to us.
“Those two are having scans and a bit of physio.
“The rest of the lads have bumps and bruises, but that can grow - as you get into the week before you realise a bruise is a dead leg.”
Stefan Marsh, Jon Clarke and Sione Kite could make a return for Monday evening’s basement battle with Castleford Tigers .
Betts added: “We saw next Monday as a little bit of a priority for those three instead of pushing them too quickly.
“We have some beaten and sore bodies, but it helps us that we have a full week’s turnaround.”
Castleford this week suspended their England scrum half Rangi Chase due to a disciplinary issue, and Tigers will also be without full back Richard Owen who has picked up a one match ban for punching.
It is a clash that Widnes should be targeting if they are to climb away from the bottom of the table.
Betts said: “These are the sort of games we should be in with a chance of winning.
“But our problem this year has been when our expectations have changed we have frozen a little bit.
“It is another challenge we face. All this year has been full of learning experiences that the players will have got better from.”
Monday’s game at the Stobart stadium will kick off at 8pm.
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