Barrow Raiders head coach Paul Crarey is expecting the season’s schedule to cause injuries to his playing squad.
The Raiders returned to training on Wednesday ahead of their Challenge Cup tie next month and Crarey believes their disrupted pre-season will have consequences.
Crarey told the club's Twitter: “We had five weeks training before Christmas which was great, but that’s long gone now. It’s February now and we're back in and we have got to be very careful in what we do, but these lads are great, Sean (physio) and Paddy (strength and conditioning coach) are telling us what we need to do more of. 
“We will pick up a lot of injuries this year when we play, so it’s important that we have a great and big squad.”
Prop forward Callum Bustin was added to the Raiders squad last week, with the former Leeds Carnegie player switching from rugby union to join the Craven Park club.
Bustin could make his first appearance for the Raiders in the Challenge Cup, with the first round draw to be made next week.
First and second round ties will be drawn on Thursday 11 February.
Barrow are one of three League One clubs to enter the competition.
Keighley Cougars and West Wales Raiders will join Crarey’s side alongside all Championship sides, except Toulouse, in the draw.
First round ties will take place on the weekend of March 20.
Prior to their Challenge Cup showdown, Crarey is eager to up the training intensity.
He said: “It’s just great to be back on the training ground again, [it gives] some normality in everyone’s lives really.
“We have got to have graded contact. We need a really graded return to contact because the lads haven’t had any contact for nearly a year when the game comes around."