BARROW Raiders Ladies head coach Amanda Wilkinson admits she will feel a sense of pride when she leads her side out at the DW Stadium tonight.

Raiders will make history when they face Wigan Warriors Women this evening and make their debut in highest tier of the women’s game.

Having spent more than a decade with Warriors, Wilkinson could be forgiven for feeling a sense of self-appreciation when the Super League clash kicks off.

But the head coach’s pride is reserved for her team rather than her own achievement.

“To go to the DW for a Super League game for a town like Barrow that’s never ever done it, is a big deal so I’m proud to be doing it.

“As a coach I have had many brilliant experiences, and this will be another of those experiences, but for me it is all about those girls, and what they will get from it and I’m just proud to be able to take them to that level.    

“I do feel extremely proud of the group any way for how they have got from where they were to where they are now.

“I do say it a lot, but it really is down to their commitment, and the support and everything we have had from the club and Steve Neale (Raiders chairman) to drive us to get to here.

“That belief that club had to get us to this position has been a huge factor.

“But I think a lot of that is what makes the girls the players that they are and the team that they are.

“Every time they pull that jersey on, they play with pride and passion for Barrow, for the area and for the future players.

“They are very selfless players, and they feel honoured to represent Barrow.”

Wilkinson was coach at Wigan Warriors when they won the first ever Women’s Grand Final in 2018.

And she admits that returning to her former club feels a little bit strange.

“To be honest it is a bit bizarre,” she said. “When I left Wigan to go into education and coaching at UCLan (University of Central Lancashire) and take a different direction career wise after 14 years there I never ever thought I would be going back with a Barrow team and leading them out on the pitch.

“If someone had said to me back then that this would happen, I’d have been like what?”

Warrior and Raiders have already met this season, the Wigan side claiming a narrow 20-18 win at the Northern Competitions Stadium.

That gives both teams a bit of an insight into how they expect each other to play, and Wilkinson says they have been taking a deeper look at tonight’s opponents.

She added: “We have done more homework on them because they had Grace Banks missing when they came to our place.

“She is key player for them, she can score from nothing and is a good points scorer, so we’ve done a little bit of homework on her as well.

“Having access to all the footage and stuff has helped us. They played in the Challenge Cup quarter-final, which was only last week, so that gave us another opportunity to have a look at them again.

“We know that they will be looking at how we play as well.

“We know that we’ve got to focus on our own performance, but it good to have access to this extra footage to allow us to plan for the game and how we want to go about it.”