Barrow Raiders head coach Paul Crarey has been given the green light to go in search of recruits, following the release of Gareth Hock from his contract, and will waste no time in his efforts to boost his injury-ravaged squad.

And he is remaining upbeat about the side’s chances of avoiding relegation from the Betfred Championship.

The departure of Hock means that the club are able to use the cash saved ton the former Great Britain forward’s contract to give Crarey the opportunity to make new signings, which are badly needed after the latest crop of players to join the casualty list.

After the failure of Hock to make a single appearance in a Raiders jersey, the go-ahead has not come too soon for the frustrated Barrow boss as he prepares for Sunday’s tough trip to Halifax.

“I have had a chat with the chairman. He knows the situation and he has given the green light to go looking for players and see who is available,” said Crarey.

“There is no point in dressing it up and we won’t be doing that, but you have to have your best team available when you go into matches like these.

“We have just not had the bodies to put out there, but eventually our luck with injuries will turn. In the meantime, we will prepare as well as we can and keep turning up.”

Crarey and his team are likely to find very few players of the quality he is looking for as available at this stage of the season, but a prop forward and an experienced half-back are likely to be his top priorities.

The second half performance against Featherstone was encouraging after trailing 22-0 at the break but the promising fightback came at a cost.

Already under strength because of the long-term losses of Declan Hulme, skipper Martin Aspinwall and Ryan Duffy, Barrow are now counting the cost of the home defeat by Featherstone with the names of Jarrad Stack, Jordan Walne and Shane Toal being added to the casualty list.

Stack suffered rib cartilage damage, Walne had a head injury and the luckless Toal was sidelined with a torn knee cartilage. The signs are that Crarey will have to send a patched-up squad to The Shay.

The 12-match run without a win has left the Raiders just one point above Rochdale Hornets and Widnes Vikings, who occupy the two relegation spots and Sunday’s visit to Yorkshire pits them against another of the more fancied teams.

But Halifax have had their own problems and recently parted company with long-serving coach Richard Marshall.

This followed a heavy loss - 56-4 in Toulouse - and a 33-26 defeat at the hands of Bradford Bulls. Player-coach Simon Grix was put in charge of the visit to Sheffield and the stand-in boss put down his marker for the job with a surprise 32-24 win over the Eagles.

Tipped as one of the sides to give the full-timers of Toronto and Toulouse a run for their money in the race for the championship title, Fax have stuttered badly along the way and are currently lying just below the halfway mark in the league tale.

Their inconsistent form which has produced six wins and 12 games may be an encouragement to the Raiders, especially as their defensive record is the worst in the top eight clubs.