Kelly in crisis talks with Widnes board

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Neil Kelly is likely to become the first Super League coach to lose his job this season when the Widnes board meet tonight to discuss the club's dismal start to the campaign.

Neil Kelly is likely to become the first Super League coach to lose his job this season when the Widnes board meet tonight to discuss the club's dismal start to the campaign.

Widnes have lost both their opening games as well as going out of the Powergen Challenge Cup at the first hurdle, and were jeered off the pitch after their 38-6 defeat by Huddersfield on Friday.

Kelly, the coach of the year in 2002 after leading Widnes to the brink of the play-offs in their first season in Super League, fuelled speculation about his future by cancelling his weekly press conference yesterday.

The Widnes chairman, Tony Chambers, refused to comment on suggestions that Kelly is about to be sacked. "We have to sit down with Neil and discuss what everyone sees as very disappointing performances from a squad that we all expected to do better," he said.

"We need to sort out some way of improving performances and hopefully Neil will have some ideas on that."

Kelly said that he would have some suggestions and that he was not expecting to be dismissed. "I'd like to think not, but I've been in the game long enough to know that anything can happen," he said.

If this is to be the parting of the ways, Kelly's likely successor is the former Widnes player, John Myler, who has been the assistant coach at Warrington and St Helens as well as his home-town club.

Ironically, Kelly could be on his way out just as his brother, Andy, returns to the game. The former Wakefield and Featherstone coach has taken over at Dewsbury, the club Neil coached to the Northern Ford Premiership title before leaving for Widnes.

St Helens, still with four long-term absentees in the forwards, have named the same 17 that won at London last weekend for their Cup tie against Leeds on Saturday.

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