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
Sun 26th Apr
Salford Red Devils20 - 22Castleford Tigers
Thu 30th Apr
Huddersfield Giants24 - 24Leeds Rhinos
Fri 1st May
Hull FC24 - 20Salford Red Devils
St Helens44 - 4Wakefield Wildcats
Wigan Warriors60 - 0Hull K R
Sun 3rd May
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 7th May
Hull K RvsWakefield Wildcats
Fri 8th May
Salford Red DevilsvsHuddersfield Giants
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Sat 9th May
Catalans DragonsvsSt Helens
Sun 10th May
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 DevilsvsWarrington Wolves
Sat 23rd May
Catalans DragonsvsWigan Warriors
Sun 24th May
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Sat 30th May
Salford Red DevilsvsWidnes Vikings
Hull FCvsHull K R
Leeds RhinosvsWigan Warriors
Sun 31st May
Catalans DragonsvsHuddersfield Giants
St HelensvsWarrington Wolves
Castleford TigersvsWakefield Wildcats
Thu 4th Jun
Widnes VikingsvsHull FC
Fri 5th Jun
St Helens0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Sun 7th Jun
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Wigan Warriors
Hull K R0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Leeds Rhinos
Warrington Wolves0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 11th Jun
Leeds RhinosvsCastleford Tigers
Fri 12th Jun
St HelensvsWigan Warriors
Sat 13th Jun
Catalans DragonsvsHull FC
Sun 14th Jun
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Hull K R0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Thu 18th Jun
Castleford TigersvsSt Helens
Fri 19th Jun
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Sat 20th Jun
Catalans DragonsvsWakefield Wildcats
Sun 21st Jun
Hull K R0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Hull FC
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
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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- Cunningham: One of our best
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- Hull enjoy Salford stroll
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- Brown: Rhinos team to beat