KELLY SNIFFING OUT A WIN
Widnes coach Neil Kelly hopes that his squad can turn the corner on the field in the coming weeks, as they prepare for Sunday’s Tetley’s Super League clash with Leeds.
Widnes Vikings coach Neil Kelly hopes that his squad can turn the corner on the field in the coming weeks, as they prepare for Sunday's Tetley's Super League clash with Leeds Rhinos. The Vikings are still looking for their first win of the season, but produced a much-improved performance in their last outing, at St Helens a fortnight ago. They actually led 12-0 during that game, as they bounced back from a poor opening to the campaign which saw them defeated by Salford and Huddersfield. "It's nearly a month since the Huddersfield game, and the players have responded to everything we've asked them to do," said Kelly. "Obviously the first week of that month was pretty traumatic, but I think the players have responded very well, they have trained excellently and we have just got to maintain our training and turn it into performances. "There were some very positive signs in the Saints game, and I think that against a lot of other teams in Super Legaue that level of performance would have yielded a win. "It is probably more of a compliment to Saints rather than a criticism of ourselves that we didn't get a win there. "They were very clinical on the one or two occasions that we fell a little short. "We did learn a lesson; the first half takes 40 minutes and not 37. At 37 minutes we were 14-6 up, and at 40 minutes wewere 18-14 down. "Leeds are another team that can rack up points quickly and it is going to need two good, 40-minute defensive efforts." The clash with Leeds at The Halton Stadium sparks a run of four matches in a fortnight for the Vikings, who also meet Warrington, Hull and London in the over the Easter period. "We've had one game in four weeks and now we've got three in eight days," said Kelly. "I know that is down to the Challenge Cup, but looking at the three games as a package, I am going to need a full squad for those games. "There were lots of questions about our fitness and I think anybody who watched us at St Helens would say that fitness-wise we were not too far off the pace. "I think we have seen a change in attitude and I said that I wanted to see that in the games with Saints and Leeds. "Until now I've seen it, and I'm hoping to see it again this weekend." Kelly has also seen hooker Shane Millard and centre Aaron Moule, as well as prop Robert Relf, working doubly hard to build up their fitness after seeing the pre-season campaign disrupted by their rehabilitation from injury. "They came in without match fitness," admitted Kelly. "Robert had five operations during the winter and never did a pre-season, so they are all going to be better for this month." While Kelly is not yet worried about the Vikings' position at the foot of the Super League table, he is looking to get through the forthcoming spell with at least one win under their belts. "You lose games that you are probably expected to win, and that puts more pressure on the ones you are not expected to win," he admited. "Leeds is a massive game for us now. "We are one of only two teams without a point, bottom of the table we'd like to get up and running. "But I don't think the league table has settled down yet anyway. "One or two wins can make or break you at this point, but I am not going to knock a win back at the moment. "We have got to to work hard for them, because I wouldn't want to be in a situation where there is a little bit of daylight between ourselves and the rest of the group. "But I am not too concerned about that at the moment. "As long as we keep producing the level of performance that we did at Saints – and hopefully better – then a win is around the corner and several wins behind. "When we get the first win, others will follow very quickly." Widnes Vikings v Leeds Rhinos takes place at The Halton Stadium on Sunday (3pm)