WIDNES Vikings will have the backing of a black-and-white army in Sunday’s fourth-round Coral Challenge Cup tie against Oldham at Bower Fold, Stalybridge Celtic’s ground.

They took more than 1,000 fans to Rochdale last Sunday – in a 1,732 crowd – and they expect to have similar numbers, if not more, when starting out on the road to Wembley.

Roughyeds beat Haydock in the last round but Championship clubs do not enter until this juncture so it will be Vikings’ first foray into knockout rugby since they went into administration and escaped liquidation by the narrowest of margins.

They started the season on minus-12 points but, having won six of their first seven Championship games, they’ve already wiped out their deficit and are set fair to start climbing the table.

“They’re one of the strongest teams in the Championship,” said Oldham boss Scott Naylor. “You’d certainly expect them to win more than they lose. They’ve got quality right through the squad and even after all the issues of the last six to eight weeks they’ve put together an impressive run of wins.

“It’s going to be a difficult game for us, but it’s a one-off and as we’ve shown recently we can make it tough for teams like that if we perform at our best for 80 minutes.

“It’s up to us to stop Widnes doing what they do best.”

Centre Danny Grimshaw will not be fit to face Widnes. Aaron Jones-Bishop, Danny Bridge and Anthony Bowman are suspended, while Jack Holmes and Dave Hewitt are suffering from a bug that is circulating. Young prop Titus Gwaze has tweaked a hamstring.

“We’ll have a better idea later in the week, but I think Titus and the lads who are sick will be all right,” added Naylor.