After a lot of preparation work that needed to be completed, eventually, we got the green light from the RFL to return to training.

It has been a frustrating period from way back in March when we played our last fixture against Coventry, until finally the players were allowed back into the ground.

We have received various plans from the RFL that were chopped and changed throughout the pandemic.

First, we were hoping to return in June, then July, then play each other once in Autumn, then a 125-year celebratory cup competition before finally the whole season was abandoned at our level.

Things are a lot more optimistic for 2021 with the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine programme – especially among those most vulnerable – which should see the death rate plummet and with it the restoration of normal life.

This won’t be an overnight process but there is every reason to hope that our plans to return in March will not be scuppered.

Of course, we still don’t know which league we will be operating in, but as a board we have set ourselves the challenge of being a Championship play-off contender in 2022.

I told the players on Saturday that one of the reasons we applied to the Championship was that we had faith in their ability to compete and survive.

Equally, if we aren’t fortunate to be chosen for promotion then we have a strong belief that the squad we have assembled is good enough to achieve promotion.

Whether we are pushing for promotion or competing in the Championship, 2021 is going to be a big year for the club off the field.

It is fair to say that this current board, which have been together for a couple of years, has steadied the club financially.

All our bills have been paid on time, all our staff fully paid, and we now see that the club is ready to grow.

Everyone on the board is fully committed to increasing income streams in 2021 so that we can put that team together that can challenge for a Super League spot in 2022.

We understand that other areas of the business also need to improve, such as the facilities, but we have plans in place to address that.

The challenge to the players is that they play well enough in 2021 to earn themselves a contract for 2022.

I have every faith that most of the players will prove good enough and that the steady stream of talent from both the Furness Raiders and community game will continue to strengthen the playing resources.

At the start of this week we met with representatives from the Barrow and District League and we shared ideas around improving the game in the area.

It is key that we increase participation at all levels and that there are opportunities that cater for all abilities. Rugby league is a great game but to participate it is physically challenging.

We need to come up with some ideas around making it fun, a bit less competitive and something the whole family can enjoy.

I’m convinced that we have good, innovative thinkers at both organisations that can produce a plan for growth of our great game.