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Page last updated at 14:59 GMT, Tuesday, 8 July 2008 15:59 UK

Widnes deserve franchise - Paul

Robbie Paul
Salford's Robbie Paul is impressed with the set-up at Widnes

Salford City Reds scrum-half Robbie Paul believes Widnes Vikings deserve a Super League franchise alongside his own club.

The 19 applicants for the 14 three-year licences learn their fate on 22 July.

And, with the current 12 top tier clubs confident of maintaining their status, in theory, that leaves six clubs fighting for the other two places.

"Of all the other National League clubs I've been to, Widnes have been the most prepared," said 32-year-old Paul.

Salford are being tipped to gain a franchise on the back of their new stadium just off the M60 at Barton.

The battle for what would be the final franchise is being hotly contested, with many Rugby League observers seeing it as a straight shoot-out between Widnes and Bridgend-based Celtic Crusaders.

Paul added that he feels the gulf between Super League and the National League may be too big for the Welsh to bridge.

"I didn't know what to expect when we went down to the Crusaders for the semi-final of the Northern Rail Cup.

"I was a bit disappointed to be honest. If they were to be given a licence, they would have a real hard slog ahead of them."

see also
Fellous extends Widnes loan deal
07 Jul 08 |  Rugby League
Vikings for Super League - Tyrer
23 Jun 08 |  Rugby League
Cheshire millionaire buys Widnes
01 Nov 07 |  Rugby League
Widnes hope for help from council
11 Oct 07 |  Rugby League

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