WIDNES Vikings’ new head coach Kieron Purtill knows just how tough the Championship is to get out of ­— and believes that knowledge will be an asset as he plots a speedy return to Super League.

Although all eyes will be on big-spending Toronto and the ambitious Toulouse, the hard graft and focus will also be needed on the playing fields of Featherstone, Batley and Dewsbury to avoid the fate suffered by Leigh last term.

On top of that, the challenge of being among the favourites when up against teams raising their games to take the Vikings scalp is another thing they have to handle every week.

Purtill said: “We have a lot of work in front of us, and we have to make our own history. The ultimate goal is to get back into Super League.

“It is not going to be an easy task – there are lots of tough places to go this year in the Championships with some really good teams and players and that was shown in the Middle 8s last year.

“There is some variation, too, playing against teams with really good facilities, to those teams who play well on their own tight grounds and heavy pitches.

“For us there is a challenge to handle as a group to being one of the favourites within the Championship.

“Everyone will see Widnes Vikings coming and want to get a scalp.

“We have to stay focused on what we can control and will do that on a daily basis in how we train, prepare and get ready to turn up on game day.

“I am looking forward to the challenge – and all the players and the staff I have spoken to are really excited about what is in front of us.”

The bulk of the squad has been assembled, and Purtill revealed that centre Anthony Gelling is still coming and they are still in talks with Krisnan Inu.

“We have a squad that we are putting together and there is still room to move within that squad.

“That will continue all year if we feel there is an area that needs strengthening,” he said.

"Anthony Gelling is still due to come. His partner is due to give birth so there are logistical issues with that- we are not sure about the date he is arriving but he is still on track to come over.

"I have been in contact and due to speak with him again today (Wednesday).

"He has some fantastic attributes as a player and he would be a great asset if we could get him on board. But there is a bit of work to do on that one yet.

"People within the squad will be given opportunities. Whether you are club captain and have played 300 games or have played just three matches, if you do the right thing and apply yourself on a daily basis and turn up and work hard, you will get an opportunity.

"Everyone starts on a clean slate, it is up to them to prove themselves to me," Purtill said.

Purtill is familiar with the settings at the Halton Stadium having been Saints' assistant coach when they rented the ground during the 2011 season.

From Saints he moved on to Huddersfield and then to his hometown at Leigh, where he tried to rescue them from a desperate situation.

“I am really excited - every day I have been involved and had a look around the history of the club is shown everywhere.

“I am really excited - every day I have been involved and had a look around the history of the club is shown everywhere.

"It is also exciting seeing the playing group coming together – we have got a good mix of senior and some very good young players coming through.

"I am really looking forward to working with everyone at a club like this, with a fantastic fan base at the club," Purtill said.