17th April 2018, 10:17 | Widnes

Stanton Albert set for Widnes bow

Stanton Albert set for Widnes bow

Widnes Vikings are set to give a debut to Papua New Guinea international Stanton Albert in Saturday’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup fifth-round tie against Coventry Bears.

The 23-year-old prop was signed by the Vikings on a two-year deal in the close season, enabling him to link up with older brother Wellington at the Halton Stadium, but he has so far been unable to force his way into the team.

Albert, who was in the Kumuls team that lost 36-6 to England in the World Cup quarter-finals in November, has played for the club's partners North Wales Crusaders and will get his Vikings chance against Coventry.

"It's taken him some time to settle into the UK, get used to our plays and reach full fitness after missing most of the pre-season, so he's had to be patient," said Widnes coach Denis Betts.

"His experience of going on game-by-game loans to North Wales has been useful and this is the right time for him to make his debut.

"With Wellington having gone some way to establishing himself in the first team, I'd expect to see a bit of competition from the younger brother, who has been kicking his heels on the sidelines."

Wellington Albert is among a host of injured regulars for the Vikings, who hope to welcome back winger Patrick Ah Van on Saturday from a broken arm sustained in the opening round of Betfred Super League in February.

"Pat was in fantastic form until he broke his arm so he'll be looking to pick up where he left off," Betts said.

"This could be a great game for him to get back to competitive action ahead of our next Super League rounds."

Betts also hopes to have hooker Lloyd White back from injury and will take the opportunity to rest some players, but back-rowers Chris Dean and Chris Houston joined the club's casualty list after picking up injuries in the home defeat by Hull FC last Thursday.