Barrow Raiders Head Coach Paul Crarey has told his players the fittest team could win next season’s League One.

The Craven Park outfit began their pre-season training this month.

However, with the UK still in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Crarey revealed that there have been a few omissions from the sessions.

“It’s been a mixed bag since we started training again,” Crarey said.

“We are obviously going to get that with the pandemic.

“There are some players who have had Covid-19 symptoms and had to self-isolate.

“So we’ve missed a few players, but still averaged around 18 players per session which is pretty good.”

The Raiders’ will have their last training session on Wednesday before a Christmas break.

With the players returning to training on 6th January, Crarey is expecting his players to return in good shape as their preparation for the upcoming season intensifies.

Crarey said: “They will have to look after themselves over Christmas because it will be pretty full on when we get back.

“I said to our players that the fittest team in League One might win it this year.

“So, we have got to make sure we are the fittest team to be right up there for promotion.”

Crarey’s side will be playing in the third tier of the Rugby Football League (RFL) this year, after their bid for promotion was rejected.

The Mail: Paul Crarey watches on during Barrow Raiders v Bradford BullsPaul Crarey watches on during Barrow Raiders v Bradford Bulls

With Crarey now intent on gaining promotion back to the Championship this season, he believes Covid-19 could have a huge impact.

He explained: “It will be about who can stay Covid-free.

“There could be weeks where teams lose two or three key players because of circumstances relating to Covid-19.

“So, you have got to give yourself the best chance with fitness.”

The RFL are expected to announce the fixture list in January.

Crarey highlighted that the club are now looking to stage at least three pre-season friendlies ahead of the start of the 2021 season.

The Mail: LAST GAME: Barrow Raiders vs Coventry Bears.LAST GAME: Barrow Raiders vs Coventry Bears.

In addition to this, the Raiders’ head coach is also looking to start the season with a home game at Craven Park.

Crarey said: “We’re hoping for a home fixture.

“We have not had an opening match at home for the past nine seasons now.

“So, hopefully our luck will change and we can make a strong start at home.”

The RFL have confirmed that the new season will start by March or April, a year after the Raiders’s last game.