Barrow Raiders’ break from action is coming at just the right time for head coach Paul Crarey, who is hoping some key players will be ready to return by the time they return to the pitch against Sheffield Eagles this week.

Crarey had to make do without the likes of captain Martin Aspinwall, Jordan Walne, Shane Toal and Willie Minoga for last week’s 46-10 defeat at Halifax.

The injury crisis, as if it could be worse, has been prevented from deepening even further by second row Jono Smith returning from a fractured cheekbone earlier than scheduled and prop Josh Johnson playing through the pain barrier.

If anything, Barrow’s early exit has proved to be a blessing in disguise, as it is allowing some weary bodies to recover from what has been a gruelling schedule in recent weeks.

Crarey said: “It’s probably a welcome break for their sake. We had a difficult Easter with Toronto and Bradford away, which took its toll and then we lost players.

“We then had Featherstone, who are a good side, and we had one middle coming on off the bench, which puts pressure on the other middles.

“We lost two in the warm-up last week - Josh Johnson and Danny Toal - and they’ve played in the last week with injuries and put their hand up.

“Glenn Riley, who I thought did well at Halifax, has put his hand up as well and he hadn’t trained all week and only done some rehab stuff.”

The Raiders will hopefully be refreshed when they face Sheffield in the Summer Bash at Blackpool next Sunday, although ending their winless run will still be a tough task against the team currently third in the table.

Crarey said: “They’re playing under massive fatigue and with injuries and you’re not going to get the best out of them.

“To be at your best in this division, you need to a fully-fit side and you need to finish a game with a bench and rotate your players and at the moment, we’re not being able to do that.

“Halifax away was always going to be a tough game because they’re a really good side and Scott [Grix] has got them playing really well.

“All they did was just push and play - they didn’t really break us down with a lot of structure - and they kicked the ball really well to put us under a lot of pressure and they got a couple of tries off them plays.”