Denis Betts pleased with Widnes Vikings preparation

Widnes Vikings coach Denis Betts is pleased with his side’s pre-season preparation and has praised the impact his new signings have made.

The 44-year-old former Great Britain forward also hinted that more new blood could be on the horizon.

“I’m pretty comfortable with the squad but I’m always looking to add to it,” he said.

“That’s my job. The major thing is that they have to have a good character and the ability to make us a lot better; we’re always on the lookout.

“If there was someone there who could improve us we would find a way to make it happen.”

Betts, like the other six coaches with teams finishing out of the play-offs in 2013, faced a tough challenge keeping the off-season fresh and exciting for his players.

“We’ve been going quite a long time, because we finished the season before the play-offs, so the lads had a break while the play-offs were on and we came back virtually before the season had ended.

“I’m pleased with the group as a whole and how close they are to each other and how well they’ve worked.”

To avoid stagnating, Betts employs a tactic designed to keep morale high.

“I find most people get better when they work together so we put them into small groups,” he explained.

“They work together on a number of different aspects. It’s not like it’s been a continuous barrage of making them run down a hill or track; we’ve mixed it up and the lads seem to enjoy what they’ve done.

“We have little groups of players that work on certain specific things, then do something different, and we keep mixing them groups up.”

By his own admission, the Vikings have been fairly quiet on the transfer front, but Betts seems to be taking a quality over quantity approach.

“This year we’ve added a couple of players. The biggest signing we’ve made, a major marquee signing, is Danny Tickle, like Kevin Brown last year.

“Throughout his whole career you know what you’re going to get with Danny. He’s a hard working consistently high quality player with great character and he’s added a lot to us already. I’m really pleased Danny is on board.”

The Vikings will begin the pre-season when they host North Wales Crusaders at the Select Security Stadium this Sunday in a match that will be classified as a home game for the Welsh club. The Crusaders will only be opening the South Stand for this fixture.

They will then travel to Perpignan to face Catalans Dragons in a pre-season friendly at Gilbert Brutus Stadium on Saturday, 1 February.