Betts keeps Widnes's feet on ground after Super League party

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The Independent Online

There will be a mood of celebration at Widnes tomorrow afternoon, but the York City Knights will be the first of a series of guests bent upon spoiling the party.

The Championship fixture is the first since Widnes were awarded a Super League licence in midweek and their coach, Denis Betts, knows exactly what to expect. "Everyone is going to want to beat us now," he said. "They already did, but now they will raise their game even more. It's going to be very difficult for the rest of the season."

The Vikings have earned their Super League place despite, rather than because of their Championship form. They are below halfway in the table after back-to-back defeats, culminating in last week's 56-18 loss at Leigh.

"I know that the drama about the licence shouldn't have got to them, but, being realistic, it did," Betts said. "Now it's important to get back on an even keel. Everyone says, 'Let's go up as champions.' That would be nice, but it's not the most important thing."

Widnes's neighbours, Warrington, were among the first to congratulate them on their elevation. "We all look forward to reinstating the local derbies and what we know will be sell-out games," said the Wolves' chief executive, Andy Gatcliffe.

Warrington can consolidate their position on top of Super League if they can beat the Catalan Dragons tomorrow. Their coach, Tony Smith, has hinted at possible changes, with Mike Cooper, Chris Riley and Rhys Williams all waiting patiently for a chance to break into a winning team.

Huddersfield should keep up the pressure at home to Wakefield, but the Wildcats' coach, John Kear, has predicted that they have "every chance" of springing a surprise if they match their recent displays. Harlequins attempt to pull out of their recent slump when they go to Bradford.