It seems an absolute age ago since we were in action, so it was great that the fixtures were finally announced for the season.

We also announced our final friendly and we will start with Oldham on 13 January before the games with Whitehaven and Wigan lead us straight into the season proper at Batley.

I looked at the fixtures and the opening seemed fairly kind to us, with the possibility of an extended winning run to begin.

However, at the same time I started to think what a tough league it is. If we don’t pick up points in the opening games, it could a long season. And with my thoughts becoming ever more unstable, I reassured myself about the quality of the squad we have put together and the preparation work that Paul Crarey and his team have already begun.

I’m back to thinking that we will achieve the steady progress we have been aiming for. The last of our signings that I thought was in the bag may have eluded us.

It’s my first year trying to put a team together and, whilst I’ve been pretty successful getting the players we’ve targeted, one or two have slipped the net. C’est la vie.

Paul and I had a brief meeting about further recruitment this week and he’s pretty relaxed about the situation.

He’s been talking to an agent who has a few of the Wigan lads on his books and the agent would be keen to direct his players our way.

It may be that we call time on our recruitment for now, see what Wigan have to offer and leave a little bit of room on the salary cap to make a later move if required. We have 25 players signed and without a reserve side, sometimes you can have too many for obvious reasons.

Recruitment hasn’t stopped off the field and we are delighted that we have appointed a club chaplain.

Tony Ford joins the club having relocated to St. Marks in Barrow from Oldham. This appointment fits in nicely with our charity partners MIND-in-Furness.

It is well known that young men, and sportsmen in particular, sometimes find it difficult to talk about personal problems. He isn’t just there for the staff and I would encourage any of our supporters to seek out Tony.

As we look to make more use of Craven Park, perhaps he could be conducting your wedding on the pitch?