BARROW Raiders head coach Paul Crarey says his side are ready to fight against the elements and “star-studded” Oldham when they lock horns in the cup today.

The Third-Round Challenge Cup clash against the Roughyeds at the Northern Competitions Stadium will be screened live on the BBC.

And Crarey knows his side are in for a battle on more than one front.

Speaking ahead of today’s game, he told The Mail: “Oldham come here as the underdogs to some because they are a Championship One outfit and we are Championship, but it’s not that simple.

“They have spent big and built a star-studded squad. That’s not me trying to play down our chances, it is just a statement of how it is if you look at their squad.

“But we’ve got some fighters and we know how to win close games, so we’ll go toe-to-toe with them and we’ll see who cracks first.”

The forecast weather conditions and a pitch which has been battered by the elements won’t make life easy for either side.

But Crarey says Raiders are prepared.

“We’ve battled the conditions for the last five or six weeks now,” he added.

“The conditions against Whitehaven (an 18-12 win in the 1895 Cup last week) were the same thing and we are ready for it.

“We’ve had a few games under our belt playing in the mud. We are the mud kings at the minute, so we will see if we can get a result in what will be a real battle.”

Raiders go into the clash without a couple of key players to call on, and Crarey admits others among the ranks are carrying knocks.

He explained: “Jarrad Stack is suspended, and Max Clarke suffered a concussion against Whitehaven, so he’s out.

“It means we have some our big guns missing, so our other players will be given an opportunity to come in.

“If the weather’s atrocious we might go with another middle, if it’s not we go with an outside back, because certain players are carrying little niggles, but want to play.

“Ideally, I’d like to be in a situation where they didn’t have to play, but I’m not in that situation.

“We are down to the bare bones really, but Brett Carter is back so he’ll go on the wing and young Broady (Luke Broadbent) will go in the centre.”

Whatever side lines up against the Roughyeds, Crarey is sure they will be out to give their all for the cause.

He added: “We have a good set of lads here, and they will be looking to show what they can do.

“It should be an exciting game for the fans and that’s what we want to give them.

“Our crowd are brilliant, they always are so they will give us a leg up, and our lads will be looking to give them something to shout about. ”