HAVING suffered back-to-back losses against two “desperate” teams, Widnes Vikings will aiming to return to winning ways at home to champions Leeds on Sunday.

Although the Rhinos may be feeling pretty beaten up and a shade jet-lagged having travelled 11,000 miles back from their World Club Challenge defeat by Melbourne Storm, coach Denis Betts is nevertheless preparing to face a champion team.

He said: “Leeds don’t get to win as many Grand Finals as they have won, recover from the adversity they have encountered and the loss of such key personnel they have without good leadership and direction.

“Leeds have already chalked up a couple of good wins already — they are a champion side.”

After winning their opening game, Vikings have narrowly lost their last two against Castleford and Warrington which has brought a degree of frustration.

Although generally pleased with the consistency in their performances, there are areas that Betts has identified to work on and cited some missed opportunities in the Warrington game.

“We need to click a bit better in attack and got over the line twice and it could have been a different game last week had Jay Chapelhow got the ball down.

“There are still things we need to work on - cut out the dumb errors and silly penalties.

“We need to take the next step.”

Competition for spots in the Vikings side, particularly in the middle unit, will be intensifying with Betts revealing that prop Alex Gerrard is back in the mix to play after three intensive weeks under the physio.

He explained that the Albert brothers - Wellington and Stanton - are ready to go as well, with Ted Chapelhow itching to get to the same level as his brother makes for plenty of competition in the middle.

Vikings have accepted the two-match penalty notice issued to Chris Houston, following his collision with referee Phil Bentham at Friday’s derby against Warrington Wolves.

A club statement said: “Whilst we believe that this incident was entirely accidental, and that there was no malice or intent behind the collision, we also recognise that there is a duty of care towards referees.

“As such, the club does not feel that it is in a position to contest this matter.

“Chris’ positive conduct on the field, with no disciplinary action in the past 24 months, has been recognised with a penalty at the lower end of the range.

“Following the incident, Chris sought out Phil to express his sincere apologies for the accident.”

“We are looking forward to him returning to the team soon. “