Vikings v Hull: Teams
At the Halton Stadium, Saturday August 18, kick-off 6.15pm
Last Updated: 16/08/12 4:22pm
In-form Hull FC will be hoping to maintain their charge up the Super League table with success at lowly Widnes on Saturday.
The Black and Whites have won three of their last four top-flight outings and are now a mere two points behind third-placed St Helens in the standings.
Peter Gentle's side beat the Catalan Dragons 30-10 last weekend while the Vikings were thrashed 68-24 by the Leeds Rhinos.
Widnes coach Denis Betts is without Patrick Ah Van, Steve Pickersgill and Chris Dean for the visit of the Black and Whites.
Captain Jon Clarke returns following a leg injury along with vice-captain Shaun Briscoe, who tore a pectoral muscle against Wigan on June 25.
On-loan Paul McShane is back after a one-match ban. Betts has Ben Kavanagh available following an Achilles injury while Paddy Flynn is recalled.
Three rounds of Super League remain for Widnes this season and Betts believes the disappointment of last Friday's heavy defeat at Headingley demonstrates their progression.
"Despite all of the problems we had against Leeds, we showed a real will to do well in the second half," said Betts.
"Everybody was massively disappointed with the score line, which in some ways is a good thing because it shows how far we have come.
"Our standards have got so much higher of late that it hurts even more when they drop below the expected level of performance. How we respond to this sort of defeat will be the real indication of how far we have come."
Hull's squad is bolstered by the availability of long-serving Richard Horne and loose forward Joe Westerman.
Horne is back after three weeks on the sidelines while Westerman has completed a one-match suspension.
Danny Nicklas and Kirk Yeaman miss out, the latter will not be risked ahead of a lay-off due to the Challenge Cup Final next weekend.
Young half-back Nicklas could still be involved though in some capacity as one of a number of players on standby with head coach Peter Gentle facing a handful of late fitness tests ahead of the match.
"It's really useful to be bringing in players of Horney and Joe's calibre at this stage, particularly Rich who is an experienced player and can cover a number of positions," Gentle told the club's official website.
"We've also got players like Will Sharp, Josh Bowden and Liam Kent all back in training now too and itching to get back in, so with a couple of question marks still ahead of the game some of those guys might still get involved.
"It's pleasing to have a little more competition for places, it's what you need heading into the play offs as we look to build plenty of momentum in our final three matches."
Widnes: Allen, Briscoe, Cahill, Clarke, Craven, Davies, Flynn, Gerrard, Haggerty, Hanbury, Isa, Kavanagh, Kite, Leuluai, McShane, Marsh, Owens, Phelps and Winterstein
Hull: Aspinwall, Briscoe, Crooks, Foster, Green, Heremaia, Horne, Houghton, Lineham, Lynch, Manu, McGoldrick, O'Meley, Pitts, Seymour, Turner, Watts, Whiting, Westerman
First Utility Super League
Tue 30th Jun
Hull K R34 - 28Salford Red Devils
Wed 1st Jul
Wakefield Wildcats26 - 16Hull FC
Thu 2nd Jul
Warrington Wolves17 - 6Wigan Warriors
Fri 3rd Jul
Leeds Rhinos46 - 18St Helens
Sun 5th Jul
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Hull K R
Hull FC0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Thu 9th Jul
Wigan WarriorsvsLeeds Rhinos
Fri 10th Jul
St HelensvsHuddersfield Giants
Sun 12th Jul
Hull FC0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Hull K R
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 16th Jul
Warrington WolvesvsSt Helens
Fri 17th Jul
Hull K RvsHull FC
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Sat 18th Jul
Catalans DragonsvsHuddersfield Giants
Sun 19th Jul
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 23rd Jul
Hull FCvsWigan Warriors
Fri 24th Jul
St Helens0 - 0Hull K R
Sun 26th Jul
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Warrington Wolves