Barrow Raiders head coach Paul Crarey is banking on his injury-hit troops to show their fighting spirit when they take on Featherstone Rovers tomorrow.

Life does not get any easier for Crarey’s men as they prepare to welcome the Rovers to town for the latest game in the testing stint that has taken in crunch clashes with Leigh, Toronto and Bradford.

Still searching for just their second win of the season, they now face the threat of a long-running relegation struggle but the Barrow coach is determined to look on the bright side, taking the optimistic view that the Raiders are improving as the season gathers momentum.

“We showed at Bradford and against Toronto that we are beginning to open teams up and we could have had two or three more tries at Bradford if we had only learned to be patient near their line,” said Crarey.

“We put some great stuff together and we will be OK when we know when we learn when the time is right to play an open game.

“ It is such a fine line but we have to keep turning up. We have got some pace in the side and I’m sure if Shane Toal had been playing all season he would have added a couple more.

“We have to keep fighting but we would rather be where we are now than back down in League One.”

The fight against relegation back to the third tier is not made any easier by a well -documented injury list and the name of Bradd Crellin was added to that list when he suffered a damaged shoulder at Odsal. It is likely to keep him out for at least six weeks.

“We do have a terrible injury list but there are a lot of clubs in the same boat,” said Crarey.

Although the Raiders slipped to third bottom after the defeat at Bradford, just one above the relegation spots, the fact that they have improved their scoring rate is reason for optimism ahead of the Featherstone game.

Rovers, who gave Toronto a good run for their money on Monday before losing by only nine points, are having a mixed season with just five wins in their first 11 games.

Their highlight so far was the crushing 42-12 over high-flying York City Knights last weekend when they scored seven tries.

They are just outside the play-off places following the Toronto defeat but have been strengthened by the signing of Dane Chisholm on a season-long loan from Bradford Bulls.

Rovers are also strengthened by their dual registration arrangement with Super League club Leeds Rhinos, which helps them through any Barrow-like injury crisis.

The Raiders have always snubbed the dual registration route and it is a view shared by the coach.

Featherstone have included the likes of Barrow Islander Brad Singleton, established Leeds prop in their line-up, this season.

“I have had people say to me that if we went to dual registration they would tear up their season tickets,” said Crarey.

“If you are going to have it at all, it should be limited to players under 21 only. That’s the reason for it, but Super League clubs like to loan out their fringe players.”

Raiders will welcome back Jono Smith after injury and Dan Toal after completing his two-match ban.