PAUL Crarey is feeling positive about the direction chairman Steve Neale is taking Barrow Raiders in after signing a new two-year contract with the club.

Since taking over at the top earlier this year soon after joining the board of directors, former Barrow player Neale has put plans in place to try to boost the club’s non-rugby income and avoid a repeat of recent financial issues.

The board has been strengthened too, with stadium director Joe Slater, media director Jack Fawcett and Darren Herbert being among the recent additions, while Adele Neale has joined to head up the Raiders’ commercial operations.

Head coach Crarey’s focus is firmly on getting the squad prepared for what happens on the field in the 2019 Betfred Championship season when they return to pre-season training in just under two weeks, but he is enthused by what is happening behind the scenes too.

“There are a lot of good things happening at the club now,” said Crarey. “Steve’s got a strong board, everyone has got individual jobs and we’ve got a plan to go forward off the field.

“We said about it previously being 80 per cent rugby and 20 per cent business, but now we’re looking at it being 50-50, or maybe even 60-40 or 70-30 business and rugby.

“That’s the way it should be, really, and we’re reaping the rewards. We’re reaping the rewards for finishing where we did too and the extra money has allowed us to bring in some quality signings, and the future is looking bright after four years of toil.”

The Raiders have made some eye-catching signings during the off-season, not least those of experienced former international Gareth Hock and Papua New Guinean pair Stargroth Amean and Wartovo Puara Jr.

However, the emphasis from Neale is firmly on steady progress after finishing fifth in the Championship Shield standings last season rather than aiming too high, too soon.

That is something Crarey is more than happy to go along with.

“Steve talked about stability, he didn’t talk about results, and he just wants us to keep pushing forward slowly - and I’m all for that,” said Crarey.

“From where we were when we came in four years ago, we’re a million miles from that and while we’re not going to win the Championship, we can be very competitive and if we get injuries this year, looking at the squad, it’s not going to weaken us.

“Last year, we were having to put a lot of young kids in at the same time and people were playing injured, and some people paid a high price for that.”