FRANCIS Cummins has hammered out a stark warning as he prepares for his first game in charge of Widnes Vikings against Catalans on Saturday.

Installed as interim coach until the end of the season, Cummins has stressed that unity is key as the team battle to climb the table.

His focus, between now and the end of the season, is getting things right on the field - and with that create a positive atmosphere off it.

The price of failure – with the Middle 8s looming – would see the club “head in only one direction”.

It is a tough task facing him, with Vikings having lost their last eight games and now well adrift at the foot of the table.

That led to coach of eight years Denis Betts being shown the door.

Cummins said: “The players have underperformed – they have let themselves down and Denis down and the only way to make them feel better is to do well for themselves, the club and the town of Widnes who support them.

“The fans have had a tough time of it – it is tough to be a Widnes supporter.

“But they have shown some passion for the club but against it as well.

“If we can unite behind a badge, a team and the players then we can create a positive atmosphere.

“That starts by us putting in a performance and getting a win and that will generate a good feel again.

“There are a lot of people working hard and sometimes you don’t get results.

“But we have got to stick together because it is the only thing we can do.

“This is a club with a proud history.

“We have a big bank of players who have come through the ranks, it is in their blood.

“I have a duty to make sure they have a long career at Widnes and I want that to be successful.

“We can’t do it on our own. Nobody is going to come in here and start handing out big wads of cash out, we have to do it with the fans, with the sponsors and the players have to play more than their part because the next generation is really important as well.

“If we don’t then there is only one way a club can go and that is what nobody wants to see.

“We want to see the club getting better.

“Denis has been part of the club for eight years and it has got better, now we want to take the club forward from here.”

Cummins has the job until the end of the year, but the former head coach of Bradford is not seeing this as a short term post.

“You can’t go into any kind of job thinking it is only going to be 12 or 13 weeks.

“You have to look at getting the job done but you invest emotions within the club and the team.

“If you get the job because you have done a good job you can take the thing forward.

“When you take over a club you feel like you can finish in a better place,” he said.