Crarey wants to see Charnock firing for Barrow Raiders at Rochdale
LEWIS Charnock's toughness and dynamism have impressed Paul Crarey since the half-back made the switch to Barrow Raiders in the off-season.
Despite being just 22, the St Helens Academy product arrived at Craven Park with a strong reputation, which came partly from his showings during a spell with Bradford Bulls in the Kingstone Press Championship last season.
His participation in tomorrow's League One Cup trip to Rochdale Mayfield was dependant on passing a fitness test on a rib injury sustained in the friendly win over Coventry Bears on January 29 at training last night, with Brad Marwood or Ryan Johnston in line to start alongside Jamie Dallimore instead.
But while Raiders head coach Crarey is happy to go with either of those two if required, he is looking forward to seeing Charnock make his competitive bow for the club, and is in no doubt he can go on to have a big impact at Barrow.
“We won't look any further than those two (Marwood and Johnston) if he doesn't make it, but Lewis has had a great pre-season,” said Crarey. “He's a very tough kid and I was surprised how tough he is.
“He's so much like Darren Holt in the way he plays and Darren was brilliant for the club, and I think Lewis will be the same.
“He played with a busted rib for the rest of the (Coventry Bears) game and he's a good kid. Hopefully we'll get him back, but if he doesn't play this weekend he'll probably play in the Challenge Cup and definitely against York.
“We'll go with what we've got for the first Rochdale game, tick that box and then move on to the Challenge Cup, and hopefully tick that box as well.”
Half-back was one of the areas Barrow targeted with their recruitment following the departure of Chris Hankinson to Swinton Lions, with the club keen to bring in a goal-kicker and someone who is more of a natural fit in the halves rather than a converted centre, as was the case with Hankinson.
Charnock's decision-making and kicking in general play have made him the perfect foil for Dallimore in pre-season and it is that sort of targeted approach to new signings which has seen the club bring in Jarrad Stack, Tom Walker, Declan Hulme and Brett Carter as well.
“You look at some clubs and they just sign names,” said Crarey. “What we've done is bring in people who will fit into our structure and how we play.
“We were offered a top-end Championship hooker, who phoned me up and asked if we'd got any space, but we've already got Danny Abram, Brad Marwood, Ashall and Mossop, so we're happy there.
“We didn't want to spend money on someone we didn't need and it's just about us finding a balance. The team is all about that and you can have all the best players, but if you're not balanced you won't do any good.
“We look for balance in our side and we could have done without the injuries we've had to give us more competition for places, but we're happy with what we've got and it's up to those players now. There's no reason we should go backwards after the pre-season we've had.”
Askam begin their pre-season preparations tomorrow when they host Egremont Rangers in a friendly (kick-off 2pm).
Joining the side ahead of the new National Conference League Division Two season are Ulverston players Liam Saunders,Marc Dixon and Jake Spedding, while Kris Tyson is set to make his comeback after missing almost all of last season through injury.
Egremont will provide a tough test, having already qualified for the third round of this season's Ladbrokes Challenge Cup and earned a tie against professional opposition in York City Knights.