MARTIN Aspinwall is pleased with the progress Barrow Raiders have made in their pre-season matches as the Betfred Championship opener looms large on the horizon.

The Raiders round-out pre-season with a clash at home to Super League champions Wigan Warriors this afternoon, having lost to Oldham in their first friendly but then bounced back with a 24-8 win at home to Whitehaven last Sunday.

The Cumbrian derby with Haven was Raiders captain Aspinwall’s first run-out of the year after being sidelined by illness for the Oldham match, and he knows how mportant it is that the team kick on from that ahead of the first competitive match of 2019 away to Batley Bulldogs.

“We’re just looking at progression,” said Aspinwall.

“The first game against Oldham was quite poor, but we’ve had an improvement and a reaction from that against Whitehaven, and now we’re going to go up quite a few more levels against Wigan, which we know will stand us in good stead with the intensity they will bring.

“If we can replicate that going into the Batley game, it’s all good. We just want to get off to a good start and we’ve got some games we know we can win.

“Batley is always tough, especially away, so we need to be firing and ready for that one.”

Aspinwall enjoyed being back out on the field too after missing the 24-10 defeat to Oldham, and is happy with how pre-season has gone for both him and his team-mates.

Now it is just about fine-tuning things on the playing side in an effort to ensure Barrow get off to a good start in the Championship.

“We’ve had a quite a few injuries from last year where lads haven’t been able to train, but it’s gone pretty smoothly,” said Aspinwall.

“We’ve done our hard work; we’ve done the boxing and the sand-dunes, so now it’s just a case of fine-tuning a few things with our plays. That comes in games and on video review.”