Preview: Whitehaven v Barrow

Whitehaven coach Ged Stokes is hoping to have Kyle Amor, Spencer Miller and Marc Jackson available for Thursday’s live televised Co-operative Championship derby against Barrow Raiders.

The Cumbrians go head-to-head for the first time in this year’s league campaign and Stokes is delighted to have three key forwards back in contention.

“They’ll make a huge difference,” he said. “Three forwards is half your pack and it’s no secret that we’ve been short of go-forward recently. These guys coming back should give us a huge boost.”

Haven lost 54-18 at Featherstone last week and Stokes has been quick to admit his side’s failings.

He said: “We’ve touched on a few things since the Featherstone game and a lot of it is about our confidence in each other. That’s not easy to instil when guys start to lose that and we have to work on it together.”

He added: “Our defence was abysmal and our attack not much better on Sunday. We understand that we’re out of form, but it’s what we’re going to do about it that’s the key.

“We’re a strong group and we’re all in it together. We’ve just got to make sure that we keep on working hard. We’ve got to change something because if we keep doing the same things then we’ll keep getting the same results.

“Although we’re not panicking, we’ve identified areas that we need to get stronger and we’re working on those.”

Barrow travel without Chris Young, who suffered a slight hamstring injury during the early stages of the Raiders’ 48-16 victory at Toulouse last week.

Raiders coach Steve McCormack said: “I think we needed that kind of performance. We showed a lot of resilience in the second half and a lot of composure, and it was good to see us playing a bit of rugby. We really stepped it up.”

He added: “You know exactly what you’re going to get when you go up to Whitehaven. They’ll be waiting for us. Ged Stokes will have them fired up but the main emphasis has been on our preparation and making sure we’re right for the challenge.”

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