1874 NORTHWICH should expect a sterner test when they play again tomorrow opponents they despatched in a cup tie last month, according to Lee Duckworth.

Widnes Vikings, reduced to 10 men in the first half of a Division One Challenge Cup tie at Barton Stadium, crashed out after losing 5-0.

“That red card helped us out,” said 1874’s assistant manager.

“We were 1-0 up when it happened, but they were working hard and making life difficult for us.

“I played centre half that day, and their front pair didn’t give our defence a minute’s peace. They have the players to pose one or two problems.”

A defeat for second-placed Atherton Collieries on Boxing Day means 1874 will swap places with them if they avoid defeat against Widnes at the Select Security Stadium.

Victory would close the gap to pacesetters Nelson to a single point.

Defender Danny Thomas is available again after returning from holiday, though Matthew Ward is still away.

Duckworth said: “Danny’s a key member of the squad, and in his absence people have had to play in positions which they perhaps aren’t familiar with.

“His return will allow us to shuffle things around again and move people back to where they’re more comfortable.”

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