Head coach Paul Crarey believes Barrow Raiders will feel the benefit of being able to hold full-contact training sessions again after their injury crisis finally eased.

A lack of able bodies during sessions meant the Raiders weren’t able to fully practice defensive structures, which had the consequence of them looking fragile during matches, particularly in the first halves of recent games against Featherstone and Halifax.

That changed last week, as key men such as captain Martin Aspinwall, Jarrad Stack and Jordan Walne returned to the fold and, barring a poor 20-minute spell in the second half, the improvement was clear to see against Sheffield Eagles in the Summer Bash.

Crarey said: “We had good shape and people were probably shocked how well we played.

“People that are probably not Barrow fans have stopped me in the street and Steve [Neale] has also had people saying to him how well we played, even though some people from our own supporters possibly didn’t think we did.

“If you look at it closely and look at the go-forward of our forwards and the effort we did put in - Star’s [Amean] ‘try’ should have stood, Deon [Cross] should have scored, we keep going back to that.

“They’re small margins but at this level, you’ve got to take them because League One is a million miles from Championship rugby at the moment.”

If there was one downside to players being allowed to tackle each other at training again, it was a cricked neck for young Jake Carter that prevented him from playing at loan club Whitehaven last week.

Crarey said: “We’ve got a recall on Jake now, so we can pull him within 48 hours and he’s certainly in our sights.

“He’s a good young player, but it’s the physicality of the Championship and we’ve got Ryan Johnston as well, where we’ve got to take them in and out because we don’t want them persecuted or ridiculed.

“We want them to learn because they’re the future of our club.”