Five talking points ahead of this weekend’s Super League

Can Chris Houston’s availability give Widnes a much-needed boost?

It’s probably fair to say Widnes weren’t expecting to have co-captain Chris Houston available on Friday night. He wasn’t even named in their squad after being charged with a Grade D Contact with Match Official offence but, after pleading not guilty, Houston escaped a ban. So can the former NRL man give Widnes a huge psychological boost by returning and helping the Vikings to a second win of the season?

Where does Kevin Brown fit into Warrington’s team?

To say Declan Patton and Kurt Gidley have formed an effective partnership in recent weeks would be an understatement. However, Tony Smith has somewhat of a headache on his hands this weekend ahead of Saturday’s clash against Wakefield: Kevin Brown is back. The England international returns following a head knock and it begs the question, with Patton and Gidley playing so well, where does Brown fit in?

Can Morgan Escare haunt his former employers?

Has Morgan Escare been the signing of the season so far? That’s up for debate, but what isn’t is the positive impact he’s made on Wigan since arriving from the south of France. And on Sunday, he has the chance to show his former employers Catalans exactly what they let go as the Warriors aim to continue their resurgence on form. If Escare is on song once again, Wigan will undoubtedly be favourites.

Will Tony Gigot continue his impeccable return on Sunday?

Eagle-eyed readers of League Express will note that Tony Gigot has already racked up nine points on this year’s Albert Goldthorpe Medal table – despite only playing three games this year! Since returning from his ban, Gigot has scooped up maximum points in all three of the matches he’s played in: something he will look to continue on Sunday against Wigan. His battle against former Dragon Morgan Escare will be a hugely exciting battle – and potentially a decisive one.

How big will Danny Houghton’s return be for Hull?

The Man of Steel is back. Hull hooker Danny Houghton is set to return from a few weeks out on Sunday for the game against Castleford: and you suspect he will be vital if FC are to stand any chance of knocking off the league leaders. The likes of Jez Litten and Danny Washbrook have done a good job in Houghton’s absence – but there’s little doubting the psychological lift he gives Hull when he’s out on the field.