PAUL Crarey hailed Martin Aspinwall's resilience after the Barrow Raiders captain attempted to carry on in last Sunday's defeat to Widnes Vikings with a torn eyelid which later required an operation.

The club confirmed late on Monday evening Aspinwall had undergone plastic surgery earlier in the day after having all of the skin torn away under his left eye and suffering a permanently-ruptured tear duct.

The loose forward had already been expected to miss this Saturday's match away to Toulouse Olympique as a result of the injury and could now be ruled out for much longer, depending on his recovery time.

Barrow head coach Crarey was astounded by Aspinwall's determination to keep going against Widnes before eventually having to leave the field, and praised him for everything he does on and off the pitch at Craven Park.

"He's an absolute total warrior," said Crarey. "(Jamie) Dallimore said coming off that he's so tough it's unbelievable.

"It never even bothered him and he had his eyelid ripped off. He's a great bloke and he's been fantastic for this club.

"I can't praise him highly enough for what he does around the place with the young players and he's just a fantastic bloke to have around."

Aspinwall's determination underlined the team's performance against full-time Widnes, which earned plaudits from Crarey despite ending in a defeat.

Indeed, the 37-year-old had attempted to track back to collect a kick through which led to the Vikings' first try early in the second half, despite struggling to see out of his injured eye.

Crarey hopes the Raiders' encouraging display will stand them in good stead for this weekend's trip to Toulouse, who are full of confidence after a thumping 46-16 win over Betfred Championship leaders Toronto Wolfpack last weekend.

The visit of fellow part-timers Swinton Lions the following week is likely to have more bearing on Barrow's season though, followed the Challenge Cup fourth round taking place on the final weekend in March.

And Crarey is targetting the first of those particularly as the Raiders aim to add to their sole win so far this season and move into a more comfortable mid-table position.

"Everybody was special because we were coming back after not playing well," said Crarey. "Against Rochdale we were pretty good, but three soft tries let us down.

"Against Widnes, we put in a better performance for 80 minutes and hopefully we can take that into the next few weeks."