YORK City Knights take on one of the Betfred Championship’s most out-of sides when they make the trip to Widnes Vikings on Sunday (3pm).

From the last 10 league matches, no other Championship side has taken fewer points than Widnes’ two.

During that same period, bottom club Workington Town and third-from-bottom Dewsbury Rams have also only claimed a couple of points, with the Vikings holding a worse points difference than the former in that spell.

Stretching back to their 38-4 Betfred Challenge Cup fourth round defeat to Leigh Centurions in February, Widnes have won just one of their last 11 matches.

The 74-6 rout at league leaders Featherstone Rovers in May may well have been their heaviest loss of the season but conceding 30-plus points on eight other occasions - to Leigh (twice), Barrow Raiders (twice), York, Batley Bulldogs, Sheffield Eagles and Bradford Bulls - will have equally hurt.

In total, the Vikings have shipped 399 points in 14 matches, an average of 28.5 per match, the worst defensive record inside the top ten.

Unsurprisingly, given the spate of coaching departures through the Championship this season, particularly ahead of the reported structure change from 2024, Widnes have the call to part company with boss Simon Finnigan in late April.

Aside from the convincing 56-16 win at home to Whitehaven, the decision has had little immediate impact in regards to pure results, with one win in five following Finnigan’s exit.

Veteran head coach John Kear was announced as the club’s new chief earlier this week and, as is so often the way, his appointment appears to be a major deviation from the relatively youthful Finnigan.

Few in rugby league can match Kear’s coaching CV, which began in 1992 with Bramley and has since encompassed clubs spells at Paris Saint-Germain, Sheffield Eagles, Huddersfield-Sheffield, Hull FC, Wakefield Trinity, Batley Bulldogs, Bradford Bulls and international stints with France, England and Wales, the latter remaining an ongoing position.

While Kear will not be in the opposite dugout against York this weekend, with Widnes announcing a start date of July 1 for their new boss, from the nature of the 67-year-old’s interview with the club’s official YouTube channel, it appears highly unlikely that he would be uninvolved in any capacity on Sunday.

Whether there is a new coach bounce at the Vikings remains to be seen, but Widnes are set to be boosted on the field by the return of full-back Jack Owens.

The number one has only played twice this season but is in line for a return from injury in time for the visit of the Knights, further strengthening what appears a strong spine on paper.

While results evidently show a team and individuals out of form, a one, six, seven and nine of Owens, Danny Craven, Matty Smith and Matty Fozard is, on its day, up there with the best in the Championship, boasting both experience at a higher level and the know-how of the second tier.

Throw in some size in the pack, in Adam Lawton and Shane Grady, plus strike on the edges, through Steve Tyrer and Jake Spedding, and Widnes certainly have the players capable of quickly overturning a poor 2022.