Briscoe and Pickersgill ruled out of derby
Widnes Vikings have suffered a double blow ahead of Thursday's derby at Warrington Wolves with the loss of Shaun Briscoe and Steve Pickersgill to injury.
Full-back Briscoe, one of the club's flagship winter signings, faces six weeks out after suffering a groin injury in Saturday's 76-6 Stobart Super League thrashing at Catalan Dragons.
Former Warrington forward Pickersgill will be missing for three to four weeks after twisting his ankle in the same match, the Vikings have confirmed.
They join Jon Clarke on the sidelines but the veteran hooker, another former Wolves player, hopes to return from ankle and groin problems against Bradford Bulls on Easter Monday.
Promoted Widnes, who are currently bottom of the table, have already lost Anthony Watts and Ben Kavanagh for the season.
Coach Denis Betts said: “It doesn't look great at times.
“And the hardest thing is that when we suffer injuries and want to bring players through - I see a group of talented kids but with no training age.
“Sides like Warrington, Wigan and St Helens have had full-time academies for a number of years.
“They have 19-year-olds who have been professionals for three years.
“I look and see kids who have six months under their belt, or some of the kids who are still at school and not full-time.
“To pitch them in at this level would be dangerous.”
Warrington have decided to rest experienced forwards Adrian Morley and Michael Monaghan for the Vikings’ visit to the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
The Wolves travel to France to face Catalan on Monday and coach Tony Smith wants to rotate players.
Smith said: “Hopefully we will play as few players twice over the weekend as possible. That's the ambition.
“It's not quite possible for the full squad - some players will have to double up - but we want to do that as least as possible.
“We are trying to look after them for the long term. We had no intention of playing some of our older brigade twice over Easter. We have got a big enough squad.”