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Friday, 14 February, 2003, 18:12 GMT
Vikings keen to seal Paul deal
Henry Paul in action for Gloucester
Paul has struggled to impose himself in rugby union
Widnes have stepped up their bid to lure Henry Paul back to rugby league.

The Vikings have targeted the Gloucester full-back as the ideal replacement for first and second-choice stand-offs Steve Carter and Craig Weston.

Weston has been released for personal reasons and Widnes are resigned to losing Carter, whose career is under threat after undergoing an ankle re-construction.

We are not counting any chickens but it is a serious approach

Widnes chairman
Tony Chambers

Paul, who has more than two years left on his Gloucester contract, returned on Monday from his native New Zealand.

It was originally thought the player's wages would be well out of the club's reach.

But Widnes have tabled an offer for the 29-year-old and chairman Tony Chambers is confident a deal can be done.

"We are not counting any chickens but it is a serious approach and we are talking serious money," said Chambers.

"We would love to see Henry in a Widnes shirt and we have had some discussions with his agent and put a package together. We are just waiting for a response."

Chambers is hoping to set up direct talks with Gloucester owner Tom Walkinshaw in the next few days.

Paul, who joined Gloucester at the end of the 2001 Super League season, is believed to be on a four-year contract worth around 1m.

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