RAIDERS boss Paul Crarey is keen for the rugby league season to restart in July but admits there are still challenges ahead before that can happen.

There is a provisional plan for the league to restart in July, however, there is doubt that hangs over that happening, with issues surrounding social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Barrow Raiders players are currently not in training and are having to do their own training at home by running and cycling.

Paul Crarey, Raiders head coach, said: “We would have to have a graded return to contact before we restart the season.

“We have requested around two to three weeks to get the players ready for the full contact after we were asked about this by the RFL.

“We have had them running and set training challenges for them to do but obviously they have not had contact for a while and this needs to be brought in gradually to avoid injuries when we return.

“There is the issue of social distancing as this is close contact, so this is a bit of a grey area, and it needs to be well thought out how it should be done.

“We could be playing behind closed doors if we return which would be a shame for the fans and the players would lose that home side advantage.

“The fans pay the players really so we need to be smart in what we do.

“We just want to get back to it really as we had a great start to the season.

“It would be a shame if the season did not go ahead. I believe we should finish the season and maybe start next season later.

“Our goal is promotion, so we would like to get the season finished, not just for us, but the fans as well as the board.

“Playing into the winter months could see more of an old school style of rugby league and bring changes to the game.

“It is not just that though, the whole team has done a great job, Paddy and the academy team have been putting out posts on social media to keep the public up to date.

“The community teams is doing brilliantly as well. I think it is the best it has been for a long-time.

“Business and what we are doing off the field is reaping the rewards.

“There is a lot of passion in this game from the grassroots up. I have been in this sport since I was five and I have seen the landscape change, but the people have stayed the same in that sense.”

Barrow Raiders had a strong start to the season which got stopped before it really got started winning both of their opening games after a draw against Wigan in pre-season. They currently sit at joint top of Betfred League 1 alongside Hunslet.