WIDNES Vikings will have the backing of a black-and-white army in Sunday’s fourth-round Coral Challenge Cup tie against Oldham at Bower Fold, Stalybridge.
They took more than 1,000 fans to Rochdale last Sunday — attendance 1,732 — and they expect to have similar numbers, if not more, when starting out on the road to Wembley.
Roughyeds beat Haydock in the last round but Championship clubs don’t enter until this juncture so it will be Vikings’ first foray into knock-out rugby since they went into administration and ultimately escaped liquidation by the narrowest of margins.
They started the season on minus-12 points but having won six of their first seven Championship games they’ve already wiped out their deficit and are set fair to start climbing the table.
“They’re one of the strongest teams in the Championship,” said Oldham boss Scott Naylor. “You’d certainly expect them to win more than they lose.
“They’ve got quality right through the squad and even after all the issues of the last six to eight weeks they’ve put together an impressive run of wins,
“It’s going to be a difficult game for us, but it’s a one-off and as we’ve shown in the relatively recent past we can make it tough for teams like that if we perform at our best for 80 minutes.
“It’s up to us to stop Widnes doing what they do best.”
Centre Danny Grimshaw won’t be fit in time; Aaron Jones-Bishop, Danny Bridge and Anthony Bowman are on RFL suspensions; Jack Holmes and Dave Hewitt are suffering from a bug that’s circulating and are currently unwell; and young prop Titus Gwaze has tweaked a hamstring.
“We’ll have a better idea later in the week, but I think Titus and the lads who are sick will be alright.”
Usual league-match prices apply and it’s all-pay at the turnstiles.