It was a disappointing result for Barrow Raiders at the Halton Stadium last Sunday afternoon against a Widnes Vikings team who picked up their third victory in nine days by defeating their visitors 38-14.

I wasn’t there, but the match report by Bryn May in ‘League Express’ was pretty brutal stating: “Barrow were second best in every department and were it not for two late breakaway tries, they could have been hammered.”

Widnes went into administration, taking a 12-point penalty from the RFL at the start of the season which they have now overcome and are now on eight points, three ahead of Barrow.

They had to release several players and are not allowed to sign any others until a financial review at the end of the season with head coach Kieron Purtill stating: “Even the guys on contract don’t know where they’re going to be. Myself too, I’ve no contract for next season. I don’t know what’s happening."

Vikings chief executive Phil Finney commented that they are still weighing up the costs involved with being full-time compared to part-time for next season based on projected income.

A figure of around £1.5m turnover is believed to be required to commit to a full-time operation in the Championship and I believe that if you are serious about Super league you must find a way to go full-time.

So, after encouraging displays against Rochdale and Bradford it seems like one step forward, two steps back and with only 11 games left it is absolutely crucial that we find some form, hopefully beginning with a performance tomorrow with the visit of Halifax to Craven Park.

By their high standards, Halifax have had an inconsistent season thus far, winning eight, losing eight and sacking well respected coach Richard Marshall just over a month ago, who only this week was snapped up by St Helens as Justin Holbrook’s assistant following the departure of Sean Long to rugby union’s Harlequins.

The former Fax player will now go up against his former club when Saints play Halifax in a Challenge Cup semi-final at Bolton on July 27.

Prop forward Simon Grix was then installed as head coach and had a terrific start to his first coaching appointment with four straight wins, including a comprehensive 46-10 victory over the Raiders and a spot in the Challenge Cup semi-final after the win against Bradford Bulls.

However, two consecutive league defeats, including a 31-8 reverse at Leigh last week, have dampened their play-off ambitions and Grix said this week: “A play-off spot is the target. The table doesn’t look pretty but we believe we can do it.”

He also caused some controversy when he called the 1895 Cup competition ‘Mickey Mouse’ and slammed the fact that the competition was forcing part-time players to play two games per week.

Halifax and Bradford both fielded second-string teams and were heavily beaten by Sheffield and Barrow, respectively, just four days after their Challenge Cup quarter final.

But that opinion hasn’t gone down well with Derek Beaumont, chairman of our next opponents in the 1895 Cup, Leigh Centurions, whose company AB Sundecks sponsors the competition.

He believes Grix’s comments are insulting to the sport, stating: “To ridicule it for other clubs taking it seriously is disappointing and poor from him.

“I would be proud leading a team out at Wembley to play tiddly winks. This concept makes the unthinkable dream a real prospect to so many that contribute so much to the rugby league family and the RFL should be applauded for this, not ridiculed.”

Halifax are under pressure to get back on track for the play-offs but with one eye on the Challenge Cup semi-final, which is six weeks away, this could be a good time to play Halifax and gain two crucial points.

Let’s keep positive, nullify Scott Murrell and cheer the team to victory tomorrow.