Warrington Wolves fans owed a 'derby' day win over Widnes Vikings

Warrington Guardian: James Laithwaite in the heat of battle against Hull Kingston Rovers. Picture by Mike Boden James Laithwaite in the heat of battle against Hull Kingston Rovers. Picture by Mike Boden

JAMES Laithwaite believes Wolves owe their fans a victory against Widnes Vikings on Good Friday after the suffering of two ‘derby’ losses last season.

Vikings were 38-22 victors at the Select Security Stadium in last year’s Easter clash, before beating Tony Smith’s side 16-6 in the reverse fixture.

And Warrington-based Laithwaite understands what a victory will mean to the fans at The Halliwell Jones Stadium this week.

“Widnes is only five minutes down the road so it means a lot to the fans and you can feel the atmosphere in the stadium,” said the second rower.

“They beat us twice last year so we want to try and get one back on them. It’s a ‘derby’ so both teams will be up for it but hopefully we can raise our game and get a good result.”

Wolves head into the clash on the back of a defeat to Hull KR in Super League, a game Laithwaite felt was there for the taking in the first half.

“They come at us pretty well and step up their game,” added the 22-year-old, who spent time on loan with the Robins during the 2012 season.

“We played too quickly, we didn’t slow the ruck down enough and capitalise on that.

“First half we played pretty well and we had a few opportunities. We should have taken them and should have come in with a lead and it might have been a different story.

“Without those scores before half time it was a bit of a downer and we should have built on that.”

As well as the Good Friday visit of Widnes Vikings, Wolves’ Easter schedule sees them travel to Castleford Tigers on Monday.

Laithwaite has been a regular fixture in Smith’s squad so far this campaign, but admits two games in a short space of time can take its toll on the squad.

“I’ve been getting a shot and he’s been sticking with me so I’ll hopefully play the best I can and keep my place in the team,” he said.

“Two games in four days is pretty tough so we will have to regroup. It’ll be a big week’s training so we have to dust ourselves off and go again.”

Teammate Stefan Ratchford echoed Laithwaite’s views, saying the Easter period does not get any easier despite being a regular fixture in the calendar.

“You just have to get on with it,” added the former Salford man. “It’s something that’s been around for a while, you don’t get used to it but your training schedule will go a bit lighter.

“You’ll be in the whole time and you’ve just got to knuckle down for two 80 minute performances – hopefully the coaching staff will look after you and try and freshen you up for the rest of the week.”

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