Widnes Vikings are still in search of their first win of the 2017 season, as they welcome Salford Red Devils on Friday evening to the Select Security Stadium.

Last Time Out

Widnes Vikings were well beaten on their travels last weekend as Hull FC recorded a comfortable 32-12 win at the KCOM Stadium. Denis Betts made changes to his 17 after he failed to see a response from his men at half-time in their drubbing at home to Castleford Tigers a week earlier. He can hardly call their latest defeat an improvement, as they continue to struggle without their main attacking threat Joe Mellor.

Salford Red Devils ended Castleford’s 100% record with a dramatic late triumph, as Gareth O’Brien landed a late drop-goal in a 13-12 win. The Red Devils have been impressive early on, as they sit two points outside the top four, and have picked up three wins from their opening six fixtures. They have only won once away from home though, and will be looking to improve that record on Friday evening.

Key Battle

The hosts are lacking creativity due to both of their first choice halfbacks being side-lined with injury, however they are also leaking points too as only Huddersfield Giants have conceded more than the 136 points the Vikings have shipped. Salford may target their forward pack to gain the stranglehold they will need to win this encounter, with Ben Murdoch-Masila in great form so far this season. Hep Cahill was added to the Widnes’ injury list last week and will be a big miss in the middle for the home side as they look to repel Ian Watson’s men.

Prediction

Salford have enjoyed four straight victories in this fixture, including a hat-trick of wins last season, and will be favourites to continue that run. Salford Red Devils by 14.

Squads

Widnes Vikings 19-man squad:

Tom Armstrong, Chris Bridge, Sam Brooks, Jack Buchanan, Jay Chapelhow, Ted Chapelhow, Danny Craven, Gil Dudson, Rhys Hanbury, Aaron Heremaia, Chris Houston, Jordan Johnstone, MacGraff Leuluai, Stefan Marsh, Tom Olbison, Charly Runciman, Corey Thompson, Lloyd White, Matt Whitley

Salford Red Devils 19-man squad:

Adam Walne, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Craig Kopczak, Gareth O’Brien, George Griffin, Greg Johnson, Josh Jones, Junior Sa’u, Justin Carney, Kris Welham, Kriss Brining, Lama Tasi, Lee Mossop, Logan Tomkins, Mark Flanagan, Michael Dobson, Olsi Krasniqi, Rob Lui, Todd Carney

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My name is Sean Hayes. I am from Widnes, England. I am currently studying journalism at Salford University. Aspiring sports journalist and rugby league fanatic whether it is watching, playing or writing about the greatest game! Follow me on twitter @SHayesNBL