Widnes head coach Denis Betts has urged the club's supporters to get excited ahead of the new season, despite many tipping the side to struggle.
The Vikings' close-season was hit by tragedy when new signing Kato Ottio died suddenly before arriving at the club, but Widnes have rallied following the setback, and they head into the new season with optimism.
"Fans should be excited by what we've done with our recruitment, and by the youth that we are developing and get behind us. That's what this club needs. It needs the people who are going to drive it forward and that's the people who turn up on game day," said Betts, whose side face Catalans Dragons on Sunday afternoon in their Super League first round fixture.
"We all look pretty good at the moment, our training's gone really well, everybody's really healthy, the numbers coming back from some of our testing is really positive so we're in a good place physically and mentally but we've got to perform."
Betts has also hailed the club's academy set-up, which he says has assisted during training, and believes will underpin the senior set-up in 2018 and beyond.
"We've a decent academy set-up now with some really good kids," he added.
"And those kids are trying to push themselves into our top squad, so it's been pretty intense in a few of our 13 on 13 sessions. The proof's in the eating, not in the pudding."
Widnes are 4/5 to beat Catalans while the French side are 1/1 to get their campaign off to a winning start.
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