DENIS Betts is confident his Widnes Vikings players will confront the backlash expected when facing Castleford Tigers at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Sunday.

While Vikings head into Round Two on the back of a home hammering of Catalans Dragons, the 2017 League Leaders’ Shield winners and beaten Grand Finalists are looking to get of the mark following a 46-6 loss at St Helens.

“The last few times we’ve turned up at Castleford it’s been very, very tough,” said Vikings head coach Denis Betts.

“It’s a tough place to play but I like playing there because it feels like a rugby league town and a rugby league ground.

“I enjoy competing on that pitch and the lads feel the same way.

“We’ve got nothing to lose. We’re going there with the attitude that things that we’ve talked about do work, such as being able to respond to a bit of adversity in a game, and having the confidence of things coming off for us.

“Castleford have got some fantastic players who will feel a little bit like they’ve let themselves down the week before, but they’re coming off a great year and not a massive amount of changes in their squad.

“There’s going to be a kick-back from that loss at St Helens but we’ve just got to confront that and be ourselves.”

Cas have lost the services of suspended Zak Hardaker since last season and he looked sorely missed at the Totally Wicked Stadium last Friday while looking for stand-off Ben Roberts to excel in the role instead.

Daryl Powell, the Cas head coach, has hinted that there will be changes made on the back of the showing at Saints though.

“Zak Hardaker offered a threat that they might not have at the moment but Ben Roberts will get better in that position if Daryl keeps him there, which I think he will,” said Betts.

“I’m not sure how many changes Daryl will make. I think he’ll give them a bit of serve and expect them to respond because they’re all good players.

“He’ll want this home game from them to be where their season starts.”

Cas do appear to be considering ditching the ploy of playing Roberts at full-back after one match of the new season.

"That's one of the positions that's under threat," said Powell.

"We'll have to make that decision as a collective coaching group.

“Without a doubt, there'll be changes, you can't come up with a performance like that and not have people dropping out of the team."

Roberts could revert to his old stand-off role after teenager Jake Trueman was concussed in the eight-try mauling by Saints.

"We'll check on him but I don't think he'll be fit," said Powell, who confirmed that Jamie Ellis, awarded the number six jersey on his return to the club in the close season, is also in contention.

Another close-season signing, centre or second rower Joe Wardle, is rated a 50-50 chance by Powell to shake off a hamstring injury he sustained in training and make his debut against Vikings.

Powell will not be able to call on other recruits Mitch Clark, Garry Lo and Cory Aston who have been sent out on loan for a month but he could bring back the four players on dual registration at Halifax.

"Our depth is fine, that's not going to be an issue," said Powell, who is confident of getting a response from his players to their opening loss.

"It was a fair kick up the backside and how we respond is going to define how good we are.

"We've trained well in the last couple of days, the attitude to training has been awesome this week, we are looking to move on quite quickly.

"This game is pretty important for us. We are at home and we're proud of our home record.

"The first month is important for me, it's where you set your standards and where you get your confidence.

“Clearly we haven't got a lot of confidence from the weekend and we need to get that back this weekend."