Super League preview: Widnes Vikings v Bradford Bulls
Last Updated: 30/03/14 2:36pm
Beware of the Bull will be the maxim at the Select Security Stadium on Sunday as Widnes entertain Bradford.
The Vikings have enjoyed an excellent start to the current campaign, including a hard-fought 7-0 success against Hull FC last week, but winger Patrick Ah Van says that they cannot afford to take his former club lightly.
"They have new owners so the players will be pleased about that and they can just concentrate on the footy now," Ah Van told the club website.
"Playing under the circumstances they have had to endure over the past couple of months won't have been ideal so they will be glad it's all out the way now. We have to be very wary of them this week as they are still a very dangerous side despite their position in the Super League table."
Vikings coach Denis Betts will be delighted to welcome back Hep Cahill to his pack after the Aussie missed the last four matches with injury. On-loan Paul Clough is also set to line-up for his 200th career game.
The Bulls remain rooted to the foot of the Super League table after a six-point deduction earlier in the season for going into administration, but with new owners now on board and a new chief executive in former-Bradford player Steve Ferres, there is a renewed optimism that the club can avoid relegation.
"Our immediate priority is to ensure we avoid relegation," said Ferres. "Everyone knows we are some way behind the nine ball, but we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure Super League survival.
"From there, we intend to take the club forward in a controlled manner," he added.
The trip west sees Bradford boosted by the return of Chev Walker, who missed last week's defeat to Hull KR through suspension.
Even so, the squad remains depleted in number, with Matt Diskin (calf), Jamie Foster (foot) and Adam Sidlow (ankle) out with injuries, in addition to Lee Gaskell, Dale Ferguson and Luke George who are still three to four weeks from returning to action.
"We will leave no stone unturned in helping Francis Cummins strengthen his squad, but it is no secret that clubs are reluctant to let players go during this part of the season," said Ferres.
The Bulls have come away from Widnes with a win and a draw in the two seasons since the Vikings returned to the top flight, so they have proved that they can handle a surface that most find difficult.
However, they have found the finishing of Ah Van more tricky to combat, the winger having posted two tries in each of the last three meetings between the clubs.
Widnes: Ah Van, Brown, Cahill, Clarke, Clough, Craven, Dean, Flynn, Galea, Gerrard, Gilmore, Johnson,, Joseph, Leuluai, Lloyd, Owens, Phelps, Tickle, White.
Bradford: Addy, Blythe, Bridge, Conroy, Donaldson, Gale, Kear, Kearney, Henry, Mellor, Manuokafoa, Mullally, O'Brien, Olbison, Purtell, Roberts, Sutcliffe, Walker, Wood.
First Utility Super League
Thu 26th Mar
Salford Red Devils36 - 8Widnes Vikings
Fri 27th Mar
Castleford Tigers20 - 14Hull FC
Hull K R24 - 22St Helens
Warrington Wolves10 - 29Huddersfield Giants
Wigan Warriors52 - 10Wakefield Wildcats
Sat 28th Mar
Catalans Dragons22 - 38Leeds Rhinos
Thu 2nd Apr
Hull FCvsHull K R
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Fri 3rd Apr
Castleford TigersvsLeeds Rhinos
Wigan WarriorsvsSt Helens
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Mon 6th Apr
Warrington WolvesvsCastleford Tigers
Hull K R0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Wigan Warriors
St Helens0 - 0Hull FC
Catalans DragonsvsWidnes Vikings
Fri 10th Apr
Hull FCvsWidnes Vikings
Sat 11th Apr
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Castleford TigersvsHull K R
Sun 12th Apr
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Leeds Rhinos
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0St Helens
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 16th Apr
Wigan WarriorsvsWarrington Wolves
Fri 17th Apr
St HelensvsLeeds Rhinos
Sun 19th Apr
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 23rd Apr
Wakefield WildcatsvsWigan Warriors
Fri 24th Apr
Hull FC0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Leeds RhinosvsWarrington Wolves
St Helens0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Sat 25th Apr
Catalans DragonsvsHull K R
Sun 26th Apr
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 30th Apr
Huddersfield GiantsvsLeeds Rhinos
Fri 1st May
Hull FC0 - 0Salford Red Devils
St Helens0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Hull K R
Sun 3rd May
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 7th May
Hull K RvsWakefield Wildcats
Fri 8th May
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Sat 9th May
Catalans DragonsvsSt Helens
Sun 10th May
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Hull FC
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Leeds Rhinos
Thu 21st May
Castleford TigersvsHuddersfield Giants
Fri 22nd May
Hull FC0 - 0St Helens
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Hull K R
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Sat 23rd May
Catalans DragonsvsWigan Warriors
Sun 24th May
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Super League 2014, round seven
Bradford coach Francis Cummins refused to blame another week of off-field headlines for his side's defeat at Widnes
Paul Anderson admitted his side only have themselves to blame after blowing a 14-4 lead to lose 33-14 to Warrington.
Hull KR won successive Super League games for the first time since July with a commanding 44-6 victory over Wakefield.
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- Widnes edge plucky Bradford
- Cunningham: One of our best
- Wane: We were below par
- Hull enjoy Salford stroll
- Tommy guns down Rhinos
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- Shenton 'back to his best'
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- Cockayne grounded after win
- McDermott happy to rest stars
- Broncos v Tigers: Teams
- Saints pair miss Leeds clash
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- Official procedures
- Saints pair facing suspension
- Brown: Rhinos team to beat