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Friday, 28 November 2014

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Holty casts an expert eye over Championship One

RAIDERS coach Darren Holt has spent the last two seasons playing for Workington in Championship One and knows the competition well. Here, he gives PAUL TURNER his thoughts on all the opponents and predicts who – as well as Barrow – will go up this season

DONCASTER

PAUL Cooke is a good signing for them. If Paul goes down and applies himself, he has obviously been a quality player for a lot of years and he will certainly help them.

I think they have a good young squad anyway. For the last couple of years it has always been tough going down there. They might even be the surprise package this year.

GATESHEAD

THEY’RE the perennial strugglers, but on any given day they can turn up. I’ve played at Gateshead loads of times and they give you a game and you get a bit of a scare.

I don’t know how recruitment has gone, but they are up against it because of their geographical location.

But they always compete, they will be a predominantly young side and when we play against teams like that it is important that we can apply ourselves and master enthusiasm.

LONDON SKOLARS

THEY’RE getting better every year. The away trip, it’s always nice to have the stay over, but where in the past you thought it was a guaranteed two points, that’s not the case any more.

They beat a couple of teams last year and they have got some good players down there – Adebisi, who has played at some of the top clubs in the Championship.

They are a very strong, physical side and if they get themselves well-drilled, they could beat one or two teams. I don’t think they are going to be challenging for the title, but they will beat some teams this year.

NORTH WALES CRUSADERS

THEY’RE a bit of an unknown quantity. I’ve looked on every club website just to try and keep informed and they are an unknown quantity.

They’re a new club, which always gives you that enthusiasm and I think at the start of the season they could be a bit of a surprise package, but can they sustain it for the whole season? Time will tell.

OLDHAM

JUST like Doncaster, they have made some good signings – Miles Greenwood from Halifax and a couple of other decent new additions.

I think for Oldham, consistency is the key and their away form – they are very good at home and maybe not so good away. I think they will be one of the teams who will be beating some of the more fancied teams regularly.

ROCHDALE HORNETS

THEY’RE a very, very good team. I’ve played against them the last couple of years and they are probably one of the better teams in this league that we have played against.

For some reason, it has again been consistency with them, but every time we (Workington) managed to play them, they seemed to be on their day.

They have made some good signings, they’ve got a good, balanced squad across the park and they will be there or thereabouts this year.

SOUTH WALES SCORPIONS

CLARKY’S team. At the minute, they are another unknown quantity. I’ve looked at their squad and you can’t read too much into it.

But I know Clarky and he will have his structure put in place down there, they will be well-drilled, he will put a game plan into them and I am sure they will be well disciplined.

Much like Barrow, they are out in the sticks, so it will be a very tough place to go to get a result, and again it can go one of two ways for them. They can have a very good season, where they will be up and progressing, or being a new club they might just get found out.

WHITEHAVEN

THEY have probably got the biggest squad in the league this year. They must have splashed out a bit and pulled in players.

The trick for the new coach up there, Don Gailer, is that he has got to make them gel and pull them all together, because they haven’t played together for very long.

On paper, they have got a very strong squad and they have players from bigger clubs, but we will see how they gel. Whitehaven is always a tough place to go to, no matter what.

WORKINGTON TOWN

THEY’RE the opposite to Whitehaven – they’re a squad who have played together for numerous years. They have made some quality signings – they have taken Thackray from here, Lupton and a couple of other boys.

Depending on injuries, because at the minute they haven’t got a very big squad and for some reason the injury list up there does always get a bit high, they will be in and around the play-off spots, or maybe even challenging for the league.

I look forward to the games against them, because I know a lot of people and I have a lot of friends up there, and I’m sure some of our meetings this year will be very tasty.

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