Widnes Vikings v St Helens: Preview

Widnes Vikings v St Helens

Bottom of the table Widnes are hoping for a change of fortunes when they take on St Helens at the Select Security Stadium on tonight.

The Vikings are yet to win on home turf this season and have picked up just one win in their opening ten league matches.

Pressure is building on coach Denis Betts after he watched his side suffer a third successive defeat, as the Leeds Rhinos survived a second-half comeback from Widnes to run out 42-22 winners at Headingley.

Things don’t get any easier as they host a St Helens side who will be full of confidence after picking up their first win since the departure of coach Keiron Cunningham.

The Saints put in a gutsy performance to see off the Castleford Tigers on Monday, coming from 8-0 down to win 26-22, with youngster Regan Grace catching the eye after scoring his second try in two games.

It was only the second time that Castleford had tasted defeat this season and having run Wigan close on Good Friday, Sean Long looks like he is steadying the ship after a difficult period.

Widnes lost Tom Armstrong (knee), Danny Craven (finger) and Lloyd White (hamstring) to injury in the defeat to Leeds and with all three missing for Friday’s clash with St Helens, however they have recalled Rhys Hanbury and skipper Joe Mellor to the squad.

The Vikings also welcome back Chris Bridge, Matt Whitley, Tom Olbison and Alex Gerrard from injury.

St Helens have been boosted by the return of back-row forward Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook from injury while Greg Richards is poised to take the place of front rower Luke Douglas.

Kyle Amor is also available after being told his dismissal against Wigan was a sufficient punishment.

The Saints have a fine record in this fixture having won five of the last six matches between the two sides, including all three meetings last season.

Games between these two are usually tight affairs and with Widnes lacking a real cutting edge, a low scoring St Helens win could be on the cards.

Widnes Squad: Ah Van, Bridge, Brooks. Buchanan, Burke, J Chapelhow, Dean, Dudson, Gerrard, Gilmore, Hanbury, Johnstone, Marsh, Mellor, Olbison, Runciman, Thompson, Walker, Whitley.

St Helens Squad: Makinson, Percival, Swift, Fages, Smith, Walmsley, Amor, Wilkin, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Walker, Thompson, Lee, Peyroux, Richards, Knowles, Fleming, Bailey, Grace, Taia.

Score Prediction: Widnes 10-18 St Helens

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