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Super League match preview: Widnes Vikings v Hull FC
Kevin Brown is set to make his Widnes debut when the Vikings take on Hull FC at the Stobart Stadium on Saturday.
Half-back Brown, who joined Widnes in the off-season but missed the start of the 2013 Super League campaign through injury, will take his bow in a clash which can be seen live on Sky Sports 1HD from 5.30pm.
Vikings coach Denis Betts also brings winger Patrick Ah Van back into his 19-man squad, while prop Ben Cross returns to the fold after serving a one-match suspension.
Shaun Briscoe, Phil Joseph and Macgraff Leuluai make way for the trio of Ah Van, Brown and Cross. Widnes have not played since a 44-18 defeat to Hull KR two weeks' ago due to Leeds' participation in the World Club Challenge.
Hull FC boss Peter Gentle has made one change to his 19-man squad following the 24-10 defeat to high-flying Warrington last time out.
Danny Tickle, who made a return as a late replacement last weekend, is named in the initial squad this time along with Daniel Holdsworth, who missed out on match-day last weekend with a concussion. Brett Seymour drops out.
Widnes are looking to end a run of two straight defeats as they return home for the first time since the February 10 while Hull are also looking for their first win in three.
Widnes squad: Ah Van, Allen, K Brown, Cahill, Clarke, Cross, Dean, Flynn, Gerrard, Hanbury, Hock, Kavanagh, Marsh, Mellor, O'Carroll, Phelps, Pickersgill, White, Winterstein.
Hull FC squad: Arundel, Briscoe, Crookes, Galea, Green, Heremaia, Holdsworth, Horne, Houghton, Johnson, Lineham, Lynch, McDonnell, O'Meley, Pitts, Tickle, Westerman, Whiting, Yeaman.
What they said...
Widnes head coach Dennis Betts
"The last time we were at the Stobart Stadium was back in early February for the visit of St Helens and the 'other' talking point to come out of our opening home game of the year was the fantastic attendance," Betts told the Vikings' official website.
"To see more than 8,300 people and to hear them in full voice from start to finish was an outstanding effort and truly appreciated. More of the same on Saturday would be superb."
Hull FC head coach Peter Gentle
"I've waited 12 months to have these sorts of tough decisions about team selection. We're starting to get a few players coming back in and it's healthy for the squad and good for competition for places," he told HullFC.com.
"What it does is just put everyone on notice. The players know they can't string a couple of bad games together as we've got some very talented players waiting to get a go.
"Josh Bowden is still waiting for his chance and Dean Hadley is killing it up at York. Joe Arundel and Jack Briscoe are playing well up there too so there's plenty of pressure to perform with the depth we have to our squad this year."
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||27||23|
|10||Salford Red Devils||27||23|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||27||10|
|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 Wolves vs Salford Red Devils|
|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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