A RUGBY boss has thanked the fans for impressive appearance figures in the first half of the season.

Barrow Raiders Chairman Steve Neale noted that gate receipts at the club were climbing, and a continuation of this trend would mean the club can ‘start to dream’.

He recently said that he was pleased with the performances his team had put in on the pitch, vindicating his ‘quiet confidence’ at the start of the season.

He said: “Our initial aim was to avoid relegation but we were quietly confident that we had gone a little under the radar and could achieve more than that.

“We know we aren’t ready for promotion to Super League, both on and off the field, but if we are competing at the bottom end of the play-off spots then we have made the desired progression.”

After round 12 of the Betfred Championship, the team sit in sixth position, level with Batley Bulldogs and with three points on Sheffield Eagles, albeit both teams have a game in hand.

But the next step, on top of keeping the performance level high, is to establish the team as a Championship force.

And growing the fanbase is a key part of Raiders’ plans.

Neale said: “The other pleasing aspect from the first half of the season has been the support from our fans. As the better weather comes our crowds are starting to creep up and we have almost at a stage where crowds are double our average the last time we were in the Championship.

“If we can keep the fan-base growing then we will be able to keep the calibre of team that will stop the yo-yoing between divisions and become firmly established as a Championship force.

“Once we have achieved that we can re-assess our ambitions and start to dream. One step at a time though!”