Jack has star backing at Widnes

JACK Johnson has some high-profile support as he tries to rebuild his rugby league career at Widnes after they signed former England star Matty Smith.The Audenshaw-raised winger made his debut for the Betfred Championship side in a pre-season friendly at Rochdale Hornets.

They now face Betfred League One outfit North Wales Crusaders on Sunday, January 19 as Tim Sheens’ side aims to return to Super League, despite being part-time.

Johnson has been pictured joining former club Warrington for a running session and he will appear alongside scrum-half Smith after he left French outfit Catalans Dragons.

And he believes Johnson can help propel them towards their target.

Smith said: “It is an exciting squad and the way Tim wants the team to play really suits me, and hopefully that can bring out the best in me.

“Widnes is a big club and although they’re currently in the Championship I think the goal around the town and the club with the appointment of Tim is to eventually get back into Super League, and hopefully I can be a part of that.

“Throughout my career I feel like I have always had a point to prove, and no matter where you play you always have a few doubters. I want to get back to enjoying my rugby again, and I think the way Tim wants to play will benefit me which will hopefully show in my performances on the pitch.”

Johnson, who had a spell on loan at Widnes in 2017, has taken the number two shirt for the 2020 season.

And much of their signings have been done through the Vikings Quids In (VIQI) members raising money.

Jason Shaw, chairman of VIQI, said: “Our members continue to support the club in the acquisition of players that we may otherwise not have been able to recruit, and it is this level of continued support that will help drive our club forward.

“The VIQI membership numbers need to remain healthy for us to continue to provide as much support as we can to our club.

“We are very keen to not only maintain the current level of membership but push on and drive further increases in membership level.”

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