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Vikings v Hull: Teams
At the Halton Stadium, Saturday August 18, kick-off 6.15pm
In-form Hull FC will be hoping to maintain their charge up the Super League table with success at lowly Widnes on Saturday.
The Black and Whites have won three of their last four top-flight outings and are now a mere two points behind third-placed St Helens in the standings.
Peter Gentle's side beat the Catalan Dragons 30-10 last weekend while the Vikings were thrashed 68-24 by the Leeds Rhinos.
Widnes coach Denis Betts is without Patrick Ah Van, Steve Pickersgill and Chris Dean for the visit of the Black and Whites.
Captain Jon Clarke returns following a leg injury along with vice-captain Shaun Briscoe, who tore a pectoral muscle against Wigan on June 25.
On-loan Paul McShane is back after a one-match ban. Betts has Ben Kavanagh available following an Achilles injury while Paddy Flynn is recalled.
Three rounds of Super League remain for Widnes this season and Betts believes the disappointment of last Friday's heavy defeat at Headingley demonstrates their progression.
"Despite all of the problems we had against Leeds, we showed a real will to do well in the second half," said Betts.
"Everybody was massively disappointed with the score line, which in some ways is a good thing because it shows how far we have come.
"Our standards have got so much higher of late that it hurts even more when they drop below the expected level of performance. How we respond to this sort of defeat will be the real indication of how far we have come."
Hull's squad is bolstered by the availability of long-serving Richard Horne and loose forward Joe Westerman.
Horne is back after three weeks on the sidelines while Westerman has completed a one-match suspension.
Danny Nicklas and Kirk Yeaman miss out, the latter will not be risked ahead of a lay-off due to the Challenge Cup Final next weekend.
Young half-back Nicklas could still be involved though in some capacity as one of a number of players on standby with head coach Peter Gentle facing a handful of late fitness tests ahead of the match.
"It's really useful to be bringing in players of Horney and Joe's calibre at this stage, particularly Rich who is an experienced player and can cover a number of positions," Gentle told the club's official website.
"We've also got players like Will Sharp, Josh Bowden and Liam Kent all back in training now too and itching to get back in, so with a couple of question marks still ahead of the game some of those guys might still get involved.
"It's pleasing to have a little more competition for places, it's what you need heading into the play offs as we look to build plenty of momentum in our final three matches."
Widnes: Allen, Briscoe, Cahill, Clarke, Craven, Davies, Flynn, Gerrard, Haggerty, Hanbury, Isa, Kavanagh, Kite, Leuluai, McShane, Marsh, Owens, Phelps and Winterstein
Hull: Aspinwall, Briscoe, Crooks, Foster, Green, Heremaia, Horne, Houghton, Lineham, Lynch, Manu, McGoldrick, O'Meley, Pitts, Seymour, Turner, Watts, Whiting, Westerman
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First Utility Super League Table
|5||Hull K R||0||0|
|7||Salford Red Devils||0||0|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Warrington vs Salford|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
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