Widnes looking to earn bragging rights against rivals Runcorn Linnets on opening day

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Widnes assistant manager Tony Dunne says the Whites are looking to build on their FA Cup replay win over Winsford United when they travel to Runcorn Linnets for their season opener. 

Widnes ran out 2-0 winners against the North West Counties outfit in their FA Cup replay, thanks to goals from James McCulloch and James Salkeld.

They were held to a draw in their first encounter following their disjointed performances, last Tuesday. But Tuesday marked a considerable improvement.

And assistant manager, Dunne, hopes they can get their league campaign off to a winning start.

Runcorn Linnets Saturday, the first game of the season, tough opposition,” he told Off The Park.

“They’ve kept the majority of the squad from last year and Wildy (Dave Wild) brought some more experienced players in, it’s going to be a really tough game. 

“Everyone wants to get three points on the first game of the season, fortunate thing for us is that we’ve had two competitive games so hopefully we’ll hit the ground running. 

“Nothing will change from us, our basics will be there, we want 100 per cent commitment, we want to try manage the game, the best we can and take opportunities when they present themselves and get their shots off.

But we know it’s going to be difficult, every game in the league is difficult, it’s just how we apply ourselves on the day and hopefully we come away with the three points and get off to a good start.”

The midweek win over Winsford saw them book a place in the next round of the FA Cup against Bury AFC.

Dunne spoke of his delight for the club, players and their fans after booking their place in the Preliminary Round.

“Going through to the next round of the competition is pleasing for any team, made up for the club, made up for the lads to get another opportunity,” he added. “It’s good for us and good for the club.

“The lads looked a completely different team. The work rate was there from the first minute to the last on and off the ball. We felt as though on Saturday the lads worked for the first 20 minutes then we just kind of died. 

“On Tuesday, they worked for the whole 90 minutes, they worked better off the ball, better on the ball, they created ore opportunities and limited Winsford’s attacks. 

“Credit to Winsford, they played football and they got at us making it difficult. We scored the first goal after 60 minutes so we knew they’d tire with the pitch. 

“We knew that would happen and Demps said at half-time stay composed, stay on the ball, they’ll start to tire and they did then Jay Salkeld came on and capitalised. 

“From then on we controlled the game, I can’t remember our ‘keeper making a save in the second half, we just managed their attacks and managed ours compared to them. 

“When you play any team below you in the cup competition, you automatically assume they’re going to go through no matter what, they turn up with an expectation, tails up, they want to knock the team out above them. 

“All we can say is we were lucky to get the replay because Winsford did do well at their place but we took the opportunity last night and progressed through. So a much better performance all round.”

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