THERE is a welcome break this weekend, and the opportunity to watch the Challenge cup semi-finals.

With phase one of the Championship season complete, it's time for head coach Paul Crarey and his Barrow Raiders players to refocus and prepare for the last seven games of the season, by ensuring that everyone understands the objective – Championship survival.

The last seven weeks have not been an easy watch, but all the regular supporters understood there would be games like this. Personally, I have watched Barrow for 55 years, so I have seen everything, and nothing surprises me any more.

Recent performances have been very poor; there is no getting away from that. However, there have been significant mitigating circumstances; mainly injuries to key personnel and the arrival of several new faces who have yet to fully integrate.

In particular, two consecutive 72-6 defeats at Fortress Craven Park, where we conceded 27 tries, was hard to take. As good as Toulouse and London were, we did not help ourselves and were simply woeful.

Defensively, it was knife through butter stuff and nothing like the early-season defensive wall which had enabled us to assemble 13 points.

As Paul Crarey said: “We just weren't up to the task.”

Now is not the time to analyse and criticise, but to prepare as best we can for what’s in front of us.

The last seven fixtures have been released, and next week it’s one of our three home games, against basement club Rochdale Hornets.

This is a must-win game, which can take us a significant step to safety. However, Rochdale have been improving lately and put up a decent display against us a few weeks ago, only losing 22-6, so it will be a tough, nervous encounter. Let’s hope we have a full, injury-free squad to choose from.

It’s then Leigh Centurions away, and probably the best time to play them as they try to come to terms with the disappointment of failing to make the play-offs and the realisation of how serious the financial impact was, with half the team having to be shipped out.

We then play Batley at home, who we have beaten already at Craven Park – I wouldn’t have fancied Batley on their slope.

Then we travel to Dewsbury, who we should have beaten the other week, followed by the other must-win game – Swinton at home. We still haven’t beaten Swinton (with two draws), but a victory would probably instigate a survival party.

Let’s hope that’s the case, because the last two games are away to Sheffield and Featherstone, and I wouldn’t want to rely on victories there for safety.

If Barrow can beat Rochdale and Swinton, one of those two teams must win five from six games to overtake us. I can’t see it happening.

We need to stay in the Championship and prepare for possibly Bradford Bulls/York/Salford/Widnes and maybe even Leeds. What a competitive division that would be, making Barrow’s task to stabilise in the Championship even harder.

As for League One, the RFL still haven’t defined the way forward.

New Super League boss Robert Elstone has hinted at the development of ‘big-city’ population centres of rugby league, where new support has a better chance of being nurtured.

This could mean each of the Super League clubs has feeder clubs; for example, Salford (or Manchester RL) would possibly have Rochdale/Oldham/Swinton as feeder clubs in the Championship/League One.

This could finally open the door for a Cumbria Super League team, with Barrow, Whitehaven and Workington as feeder clubs.

With the game in a rut, something radical is required, but whatever happens let’s keep supporting our hometown club.