Jake Carter, back from a successful loan spell at Whitehaven, is likely to get the chance to stake his claim for a regular Raiders spot in tomorrow’s tough trip to Widnes Vikings.

With Barrow down to the bare bones of their squad, the former Barrow Island half-back has had his loan stint at the Recreation Ground cut short – it had been extended until June 30 – to ease head coach Paul Crarey’s selection problems.

“It will be interesting to see how Jake goes after his spell in the professional game,” said Crarey ahead of the visit to the Halton Stadium.

With Lewis Charnock serving an eight-match ban and Ryan Johnston on the injury list, finding a half-back partner for Jamie Dallimore will be a priority for the Barrow boss who has few options.

His plans have not been helped by the latest addition to the casualty room, Nathan Mossop.

“He came off the Bradford game with a shoulder injury that will keep him out for two weeks,” said the Barrow coach. “We will also be without Jarrad Stack at Widnes because of his work commitments, which leaves us down to about 19 or 20 players.

“Stack will be a big miss for his commitment and competitiveness but we are going there with a chance. Widnes have had some poor and some good results and I think fatigue will play a part on Sunday.”

Stargroth Amean, who scored his first hat-trick for the club in of recent win over Rochdale, will also have a late fitness check after taking a knock in the Bulls game but is expected to be fit.

Like the Raiders, Widnes were involved in midweek action, beating Featherstone Rovers in the 1895 Cup, leaving both teams with a short recovery period.

“The difference is that our part-time players don’t get the same recovery time as full-timers. They all have other jobs to go to,” said Crarey.

The Raiders have been buoyed by two successive 50-point wins over Rochdale and Bradford but they dropped back into the relegation places when Widnes beat Sheffield Eagles last weekend to lift them above Barrow into third-bottom place.

They kept the Raiders tryless when they visited Craven Park in March, winning 20-4, but the confidence boost from those wins over Bradford and Rochdale gives fresh hope that Barrow can cause a surprise at the Halton Stadium.

The second half performance against an admittedly young and inexperienced Bulls side on Wednesday did much to lift the gloom that had descended over the club during that long winless run.

The victory came after Barrow trailed 6-4 at the break before Crarey reminded his players of the standards they had set and to become more direct without trying to score with every single set of six.

Victory at Widnes would lift the Raiders out of the relegation zone and with the other two teams in the bottom four – Dewsbury and Rochdale – also going head to head, the scrap to avoid the drop into League One is gathering pace.

However, with all the uncertainty surrounding the latest talk of yet another divisional re-jig, defeat for the Raiders will mean that their survival fight will go on and get so much tougher.