Kingstone Press League 1 preview: Barrow Raiders v Oldham

Despite losing 24-16 at North Wales Crusaders, Barrow coach Paul Crarey was pleased with the Raiders’ performance.

“It was a big improvement on what we have been doing on the road,” he said. “We dominated the game for large periods but we gave away far too many penalties.

“We’ve got to learn every time we play, which we are doing, we’re starting to compete away from home. Our home form’s good so we’re looking forward to Oldham this weekend. They’re a very, very solid team, they run hard and are well structured. The challenge for us is to go set for set with them and stay in the game and take our chances. For us this year it’s all about little improvements.”

Centre Chris Hankinson is doubtful with a sternum injury while wing Lee Haney has a hamstring problem.

League leaders Oldham only just managed to maintain their unbeaten run with a 33-30 win over University of Gloucestershire All Golds and coach Scott Naylor says they will have to step it up a notch against Barrow. “It was an ugly win, a few seasons ago it was the type of game we would have lost,” he said.  “I was very impressed with Gloucestershire, in fairness, they didn’t deserve to lose that game.

“We may be top of the league but that means nothing when we are not even half way through the season. Barrow is an extremely tough place to go and win and in reality, we are playing against a team from the league above us. It is going to be a huge mental test and we are going to have to really dig in and give a good performance.”

Stand-off Lewis Palfrey appears to have shaken off the dead leg that took him off the field at the weekend while centre Tom Ashton remains on the side lines.

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