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13th June 2018, 09:35 | Widnes

Cummins determined to take Widnes opportunity

Cummins determined to take Widnes opportunity

Francis Cummins is relishing the challenge of being a Betfred Super League head coach once more as he looks to help lift Widnes Vikings off the foot of the table.

The 41-year-old former Leeds Rhinos winger, who was in charge of Bradford Bulls during their relegation from Super League in 2014, was placed in temporary charge of the Vikings following the sacking of Denis Betts a fortnight ago and has been told he has the job at least to the end of the season.

“I didn’t want to stop being a head coach but I was asked to leave, wasn’t I,” Cummins said. “I’m enjoying it. It’s something I always wanted to do again.

“It’s a good opportunity and, while you’d like it to be in a different scenario, it is what it is.

“We’ve got to grab it with both hands and make sure we get where we need to be this year and we’ll see what happens after that.”

Cummins’ men are facing a crucial clash with basement bedfellows Salford Red Devils at the AJ Bell Stadium on Thursday night.

Both teams are going into the round 18 fixture on the back of six straight defeats in all competitions while a Widnes win would condemn Hull KR to bottom spot and take them to within two points of the 10th-placed Red Devils.

But Cummins insists it is still too early to be decisive.

“You look at every game as must-win because that’s what you want to do but this is not a Million Pound Game,” he said, “there are games left.

“We’re trying to get some form and I’m convinced if we get some form we’ll be fine. We’re showing good signs, we’re just not doing it long enough.

“If you don’t win, it puts a little bit more pressure on whoever loses. The competition is not done in mid-June. It’s really important for us, we haven’t won for a while.”

The Vikings are seeking to complete the double over Ian Watson’s men following their 24-16 win at the Halton Stadium in March and Cummins saw some encouraging signs in his side’s 32-12 defeat by Catalans Dragons in his first game in Perpignan last weekend.

“The lads are working hard – they’ve never stopped working hard – but we’re not getting things done right first time so we’re having to work twice as hard as our opposition,” he said.

“The positives last week were that we showed a lot more in attack than we did the previous week.”

Thursday’s game will pit three players against their parent clubs after no restrictions were placed on them as part of the transfer swap.

Former Leeds and Castleford Tigers back-rower Weller Hauraki returns to Salford as part of the Vikings team while the Red Devils will give debuts to centre Ed Chamberlain and prop Greg Burke, who joined them in exchange.

All three men played for their old clubs in the opening round seven game.

“There aren’t any restrictions,” Cummins confirmed. “It wouldn’t have done anybody any favours because both clubs feel the deal is good for them.”