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Super League preview: Warrington Wolves v Widnes Vikings
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High-flying Warrington Wolves are going for their 10th straight Super League win when they take on Widnes Vikings on Thursday, live on Sky.
Tony Smith's Wolves remain a point behind league leaders Huddersfield Giants after both teams claimed two-point hauls over the weekend. Warrington eased past Wakefield, while Huddersfield impressed in Friday's win over Wigan.
Wolves are unbeaten in Super League since May but will be out for revenge against Denis Betts' side, who beat them 38-22 defeat back in March.
Widnes, who cannot make the top eight this season, have won two of their last five but they conceded three tries in the final 10 minutes of their 42-38 loss to Castleford on Sunday.
Garreth Carvell and Mike Cooper are back in the mix after missing out against the Wildcats, but Wolves remain without Ryan Atkins, Lee Briers, Richie Myler and Adrian Morley.
"There's always a lot of passion in these local derby games, both on the terraces and on the field," said head coach Smith.
"We will give them a healthy respect as always and are looking forward to an improved performance from ourselves; in defence we were pretty good the other day and hopefully we can keep that strong again but be a bit crisper with the ball."
On-loan Gareth Hock will be the main man for Widnes, although his four-try haul was not enough to secure the points against Castleford while Stefan Marsh is sidelined with a dislocated shoulder.
Betts accepts is will be a tough contest for his troops at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, especially considering the short turnaround and that he has one of the smallest squads in Super League.
"Having one of the smallest squads in the competition and being expected to play on Sunday and then back up the following Thursday against one of the best teams in Super League is a big ask. We can't hideaway from it though and we know what we need to do.
"Our game management and not doing the simple things well let us down against Castleford, and it cost us dearly. We also picked up a couple of bangs, bumps and bruises across the team, and to make matters worse, we've lost Stefan Marsh for the rest of the season with a dislocated shoulder.
"Rather than sit there and feel sorry for ourselves, we've just got to get back up, dust ourselves down, get on with it and move forward."
Warrington Wolves: C. Bridge, Carvell, Cooper, Currie, Dwyer, Grix, Harrison, Higham, Hill, Hodgson, Laithwaite, McCarthy, J. Monaghan, M. Monaghan, Ratchford, C. Riley, Waterhouse, Westwood, Wood.
Widnes Vikings: Ah Van, Allen, K. Brown, Cahill, Clarke, Gore, Hanbury, Hock, Isa, Joseph, Kavanagh, Lawton, Leuluai, Craven, Mellor, O'Carroll, Owens, Phelps, Winterstein.
Warrington v Widnes is live on Sky Sports 1HD at 8pm
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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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