IT was an improved performance, but sadly not enough improvement to overcome Widnes Vikings at a windy Craven Park, writes Tony Colyer. Four points up at half time with two Jamie Dallimore penalties, the second half was always going to be tough facing a howling gale and at the end of the day Widnes utilised the conditions better than Barrow did in the first half.

That was the main difference really; we matched Widnes physically, but they were smarter by kicking deep and retaining possession through a couple of 40/20’s leading to the scoring of four tries.

Encouraging signs, but the next few weeks are going to be crucial to our Championship survival. After today’s visit to France, we play Swinton at home which is a must-win. We then play Leigh, Featherstone, Bradford and Halifax, which will be difficult to get any reward based on current performances.

Chairman Steve Neale has issued a statement spelling out the need for recruitment, but in the context of the current financial status and the requirement to continue a fairly strict financial strategy for sustainability. To be fair, there isn’t a lot more this board can do trying to generate more off-field income and they must be applauded.

Implementing normal business strategies in sport is very difficult, as a multitude of clubs have found out to their detriment. You can have the best marketing in the world but at the end of the day it’s what is happening on the pitch that counts the most. Win games and the crowd will come, and the sponsors will want to be associated with success.

So, a delicate balancing act is required which mitigates excessive risk to keep the club sustainable which is difficult. Managing Barrow Raiders is not an easy gig and trying to create a competitive team with average crowds of 1,250 on a limited budget is more difficult than trying to realise Brexit!

Players are recruited on a leap of faith with a hope that the investment pays off. I think it is fair to say that those players who pull on a Barrow jersey give their all every week. The effort is plain to see but there are too many errors, discipline isn’t great and fluency in attack is lacking. Unfortunately based on the general performance of the team thus far with only two victories in the last nine games we have no choice but to explore the possibility of further recruitment in order to ensure Championship survival.

Recruitment carries a degree of risk, but I would argue doing nothing is a greater risk as we would inevitably lose revenue through falling gates and lack of sponsorship.

Today we play Toulouse Olympique, who last week destroyed title favourites Toronto Wolfpack 46-16. I watched the highlights and Toulouse were magnificent, particularly full-back Mark Kheirallah and half-back Stan Robin, the Championship’s top try scorer with nine. His partnership with Jonathan Ford is lethal and I expect Toulouse to challenge for promotion. In order to stand a chance, every Barrow player must be at the top of their game.

York City Knights will provide the opposition for Barrow Raiders in the fourth round of this year's Challenge Cup when they visit Craven Park in two weeks.

It should attract a decent crowd and the extra income should help pay for the return of Alec Susino, who was a great asset last season.

Vive la Raiders!