It was another frustrating watch down at Craven Park with Bradford Bulls taking the early initiative and going into the interval 32-6 up, meaning it was ‘game over’ for Barrow Raiders, writes Tony Colyer.

I was hoping for the performance of the season considering the importance of the match, but sadly we just couldn’t compete with the speed of the Bulls in the first half, conceding five tries. The second half was an improvement, but there was no way we were going to overcome the deficit, eventually losing 46-22.

Bradford are mid-table and have had an inconsistent season so I thought we had a slim chance, but for the victory to realise, everyone would have had to have been at their very best.

But apart from a handful of players, we didn’t perform and the atmosphere was a bit flat despite the noisy contingent from Bradford.

However, as I said last week, while there is a mathematical chance to stay in this league, we must continue to remain positive and believe that it can be done.

Our relegation target Widnes are in a precarious situation also; they have lost their last four games and have only won one in the last six and that was against relegated Rochdale Hornets.

They have three games left: Leigh Centurions away tomorrow, Swinton at home in a fortnight and then Dewsbury away in the last game of the season.

Next week, their focus switches to the 1895 Cup final at Wembley Stadium, following the Challenge Cup final, against our opponents tomorrow, Sheffield Eagles, and it’s that distraction which has probably impacted their recent league form.

Long may it continue, as I don’t think they will beat Leigh and there is no guarantee of success against the competitive Swinton and Dewsbury.

Sheffield are in good form and have won four on the bounce, but as stated they play in the 1895 Cup final next week against Widnes so this is a good time to play them.

We are always competitive against them and last season came away with a thrilling victory in the penultimate game of the campaign and our only win on the road.

So, as the chairman said, we need a ‘miracle’ but a win tomorrow against the Eagles would change the dynamics of the situation and put real pressure on the Vikings. A win in Canada is probably beyond us, although Toronto are coasting and focused on the play-offs, so a good time to play them also?

If all goes to plan and the Vikings lose the next two league games that means the Batley game would be our opportunity to realise the ‘miracle’.

Mark Aston should be congratulated for Sheffield’s turn around this season. They are sixth in the Championship and through to the inaugural 1895 Cup final at Wembley.

Last season we finished above them so there needs to be a bit of ‘benchmarking’ carried out to understand how they have been so successful on a limited budget and average crowds of about 700.

I know they have a dual registration agreement with London Broncos, but it’s their general recruitment which has caught the eye, particularly the acquisition of Anthony Thackeray from Featherstone Rovers, who has scored 20 tries this season.

As a thank you to the fans, tomorrow will be ‘free’ apart from asking supporters who attend to donate as little or as much as they like. Aston wants to keep the consistency and I’m not sure what his team selection will be, but they will be confident having beaten Barrow twice already this season.

A late Pat Walker penalty early in the campaign, taken from the wrong spot, secured a narrow victory in Cumbria, while a convincing display at the Blackpool Summer Bash gave the Eagles the spoils.

We beat Featherstone away, therefore we can beat Sheffield. Let’s give it our all, play with purpose and passion and who knows what might happen.