Paul Crarey will be banking on the twin strengths of speed and youth to give his Barrow Raiders side the edge on Dewsbury Rams in tomorrow’s relegation crunch at the Tetley Stadium.

The Raiders coach highlighted the pivotal pairing of 37-year-old skipper Paul Sykes and Liam Finn, 35, as crucial in the Rams efforts to get clear of the struggle for Championship survival.

The experienced duo are the men who make the Rams tick – it was Sykes who steered Dewsbury to their 20-20 draw at Craven Park in February – and keeping tabs on them will be high on the Raiders’ list of priorities.

“They will not want to play the game quickly and will try to slow us down, but we must not let them dictate the pace,” he said ahead of the trip to Yorkshire.

With both sides locked on nine points there is the temptation to see this as a must-win game but the Barrow boss is wary of making it that crucial.

“There is still plenty of rugby left in the season and our wins against Halifax and Featherstone has helped us to drag other teams into it. Even Widnes have been affected now that they have decided they will have to go part-time next season.

“Who would have thought that they would have gone to Bradford and lost 62-0?”

With fatigue having played a major part in the Raiders’ 36-6 defeat by Toulouse, which was their third game in eight days, Crarey and his coaching team gave the squad a week of only light training ahead of tomorrow’s game.

“The Toulouse match came at a bad time for us and they had players, including Johnathon Ford coming back,” said Crarey, “but we have shown what we are capable of with those wins against Halifax and Featherstone.”

The Raiders’ chances will be boosted by the return of star utility man Jarrad Stack, who is back after his trip home to Australia for family reasons, but Crarey is likely to be without new signing Liam Paisley who took a heavy knock in the game against Toulouse.

The player could not remember anything about the incident so the club will have to assess the position before deciding whether to include their latest recruit.

Also a slight doubt for the trip is Jono Smith, who suffered a knee injury in Sunday’s game and, like Paisley, he will have a late fitness test although Crarey hinted that the problem was easing as the week wore on.

“Every game from now until the end of the season is a tough battle and every club is busted up at the moment – it is just how you handle it,” he said.

The Raiders will go into the game with plenty of confidence following recent improvements, knowing that victory will lift them above the Rams.

In addition, the fixture list has thrown up three games involving the bottom six so there could be some chopping and changing by the time the final hooters sound tomorrow.

With the scramble for survival hotting up, Barrow fans can look forward to three of the Raiders’ next four matches being at Craven Park.

Leigh Centurions are the visitors next weekend and that is followed by the trip to fellow battlers Swinton. Then come home games against York City Knights and Bradford Bulls.