Barrow Raiders Coach Paul Crarey and his squad return to League action following a 14-month gap when they visit Coventry Bears tomorrow.

Ironically, it was the Bears who visited Craven Park on March 6 last year before the Covid virus put a halt to rugby league.

Crarey is itching to get the new season under way. The former Cumbria County Coach said ahead of the long trip: “We have a four to five-hour journey we want to get the job done and get of out town.

“We have prepared well, all the new signings have fitted in nicely we are raring to go.

“It was just good to get pre-season going again after being halted with our training schedules prior to the Christmas period. It’s not been easy as we were not allowed to do any gym work and it was nice to get back on the park with the cup tie at Oldham and two friendlies with Workington and Hunslet.”

The Raiders are part of 10-team league and promotion to the Championship is the aim for Crarey and the Barrow board of directors.

However, League One will be the most competitive for several years with several teams splashing the cash to get out of the division. The Raiders have brought in experienced Super League players local boy Ben Harrison (brother of former star player Liam) who spent several years with Warrington and represented England.

Adam Walne, formerly with Salford and Huddersfield, joins his brother Jordan and bustling forward Callum Bustin was formerly with Bradford Bulls. Also on board is former Salford Academy skipper Harry Swarbrick.

These come in alongside another local boy, Ryan Shaw, who shone in his spell with Hull KR two years ago. However, Shaw could be out for a long spell through injury.

Crarey is sweating on experienced campaigner Jamie Dallimore who injured his knee in the cup tie at Oldham.

The Barrow boss added: “We are waiting on Dallimore. He will be given every opportunity to play, but if he is out, then we will probably go with local boys Ryan Johnston and Jake Carter at half back.

“Tom Hopkins could start in the second row with Danny Morrow out for a month with a hamstring problem. Jordan Walne (head injury) and Brad Crellin (torn bicep) are both ruled out, so we have 21 to choose from.

“With no distractions from cup games this season, it is all systems go and we must start with two points at Coventry. We won’t be taking them lightly they had a good pre season 28-22 win at London Skolars last week.”

The Raiders first home fixture is Keighley a week on Sunday behind closed doors one day before crowds can return to grounds.

It is a blow for the club as Keighley are one of the top teams in the division and with fans being starved of rugby an anticipated 2,000 crowd could have been beneficial to the clubs coffers.