In a season full of adversity for Barrow Raiders, head coach Paul Crarey is having to deal with another big blow after the departure of prop Josh Johnson to Super League side Salford Red Devils on Tuesday night.

After signing from Hull Kingston Rovers, Johnson was a cornerstone in what was otherwise an ever-changing line-up for the Raiders, whose squad was devastated by injuries earlier in the campaign.

When the crisis was at its peak around early May, the 24-year-old often played through the pain barrier to keep things ticking over in the front row, which Crarey believes speaks a lot about his character.

Johnson could make his Salford debut against Warrington Wolves tonight, but he leaves big shoes to fill for Barrow, who welcome Leigh Centurions to Craven Park on Sunday.

Crarey said: “The kid did us a favour coming in from Hull KR - he was released from there and we took him up.

“There was always a possibility of someone coming in for him, but it’s a bit of a blow, really, at this stage, especially in the lead-up to the Leigh game.

“We’ve got a week or so off after that where we could try and bring somebody in. It’s a bit of a blow when we’ve got Leigh Centurions coming up and we’d planned for him.

“We didn’t find out until the Tuesday when we got a call off his agent and I rang Josh and found out Salford wanted him immediately and we can’t stand in his way because that’s not our policy.”

“But talk about disruption - it just sums up what’s happened this year because it’s been one thing after another.”

While they’ve lost a player to one Super League team, Raiders could yet be getting help from another in Catalans Dragons in their attempts to fill the hole left by Johnson’s departure.

Crarey said: “Steve McNamara phoned me on Wednesday morning and said he’d heard Josh has gone and if there was any way they could help us, they would so that’s brilliant.

“I think he’s going to speak to some of his players and see if they want to come over, depending on what sort of players they are and I know that Steve Neale and Andy Gaffney were on it straight away.

“As soon as Josh decided to go, they were straight on to trying to bring somebody in, but it’s hard at this late stage of the season.”