Former Barrow Raiders captain Martin Aspinwall is helping head coach Paul Crarey to find a replacement for himself ahead of the 2020 season.

Aspinwall brought his well-respected playing career to an end early last week after deciding early during pre-season that his 38-year-old body could no longer stand the strains of professional rugby league.

The timing of his announcement has, however, given the Raiders enough time to look for a replacement forward and bring in the right player, rather than rush into filling a place in their squad.

It is just over a month until Barrow play their first pre-season friendly against Oldham and Aspinwall, who is set to take on a new role with the club after his retirement, is doing his bit to make sure their pack is fully stocked by then.

Crarey said: “He said to me when told me he was retiring ‘I’m going to give you time and I’m not going to take any money.’

“I speak to him regularly on the phone and he’s concerned that we get the right people in as well and he asked me if we’d brought someone in and he’s put some feelers out for me as well.

“He’s going to still be around the place, Martin, and that will help us because he knows a lot of people in Lancashire, at a good level.

“They’re all top-end players that he knows and his word of mouth speaks volumes; it helps us bring people in. He speaks to people for us and we bring them in here, so it all helps with our recruitment.”

Potential snagging points in bringing players to Craven Park include the club’s limited budget and its location, which can make players who come from outside of Cumbria think twice about signing on.

So far, only former Hull Kingston Rovers prop Lew Jewitt has come in from ‘the outside’ with his fellow signings Connor Terrill, Carl Forster and Perry Singleton coming in from Millom, Whitehaven and Workington, respectively.

Crarey said: “We had a couple of irons in the fire, but you have to target ten people to get one at this club.

“We tried for a front rower that played at the top end of the Championship and we spoke to his agent, but he just didn’t want to travel, so we didn’t get him.

“We’re still on the look out and it’s about money, where we’re at financially, and about the commitment of the players, to get somebody that travels and then sticks to travelling after a month or so is a feat in itself.

“It’s probably the same for all Cumbrian clubs, when you look at the signings, and there’s not a lot of movement at any of the Cumbrian clubs.”