Championship Preview: Barrow flying the flag for Cumbria

The top priority for Barrow this season will be re-establishing themselves in the Championship and avoiding the drop.

After their successful spell at the end of the last decade, the Raiders dropped to League One at the end of 2011, before making an immediate return to the second tier.

But for the last three years they have been in the third division, although last year put together a real challenge to runaway leaders Toronto, despite the huge disparity in budget.

Their recruitment has been good, bringing in two players from Down Under in Australian Italy internationals Dean Parata and Alec Susino, while both Glenn Riley and Jono Smith arrive with good pedigree at this level.

It will be at home that the Raiders will be keen to establish themselves and get some wins on the board, especially as they are the flying the flag for Cumbria in the Championship this season with both Whitehaven and Workington still down in League One.

They open with a trip to London before two tough home games against Toronto and Leigh which will no doubt be a baptism of fire for Paul Crarey’s men.

Chairman David Sharpe said: “Our first home games will be a tremendous test as we welcome Toronto to Craven Park, having been the only team to play them twice in Toronto last season. They will be followed by the mighty Leigh Centurions.

“Despite the Toronto team being full of ex-Super League stars the Raiders are confident of giving a strong, competitive performance.

“This is a superb opportunity for every rugby league supporter in Barrow and beyond to watch first class rugby, and for the club to continue improving and developing on and off the field – the match day revenue is vital.

“I know that Barrow is a rugby league town and this will be the highest level and quality of game that Craven Park will have witnessed for many years.”

Head Coach: Paul Crarey
Captain: TBC
Key Man: Jamie Dallimore
One to Watch: Dean Parata

Ins: Alec Susino (Cronulla), Glenn Riley (Whitehaven), Dean Parata (Blacktown Wolves), Jono Smith (Rochdale)
Outs: Dan Abram (Whitehaven), Brad Brennan (North Wales), Oliver Wilkes (Workington)

Squad: Joe Bullock, Martin Aspinwall, Lewis Charnock, Ryan Fieldhouse, Jarrad Stack, Nathan Mossop, Jamie Dallimore, Declan Hulme, James Duerden, Dan Toal, Tom Walker, Dan Morrow, Matthew Holmes, Shane Toal, Bradd Crellin, Luke Cresswell, Matty White, Glenn Riley, Tom Loxam, Andrew Litherland, Brett Carter, Karl Ashall, Jono Smith, Dean Parata, Alec Susino, Ryan Johnson, Brad Marwood, Ryan Duffy.

Prediction: 11th