IT was a gutsy performance from 15 players against high-flying Featherstone Rovers at Post Office Road.

Going with a full-strength squad would have been difficult enough, but with so many injuries it was only going to end in disappointment and defeat, which it duly did at 52-4.

Having only two substitutes doesn’t look good, but it appears three players had to pull out just hours before the fixture and there was no time for contingency planning. Let’s hope it isn’t repeated.

The board supported the coach’s request for reinforcements, and the arrival of Johnny Pownall from Toronto was welcome – although he was injured early in the game and didn’t really get an opportunity to show his class.

According to the Canadian press, Ryan Burroughs has also been loaned to Barrow, and we must thank Toronto coach Paul Rowley for helping out his mate, Paul Crarey.

He said: “Loaning both players also enabled me to help out a friend of mine in Paul Crarey. It ticks a few boxes for everybody.”

Unfortunately, neither can play against Toronto this evening, which is understandable, but hopefully Barrow will have a full complement.

It is going to be tough, and Toronto look invincible at Lamport Stadium. I watched their home against Dewsbury last week, and although the Rams played quite well, they were still hammered 64-12.

In our two previous visits to Toronto, we have not yet scored a try. The first one resulted in a 70-2 mauling, but our last visit last September was much-improved, when we performed really well and kept the score to 26-2.

That victory clinched the League One title for the Wolfpack, and there was a carnival atmosphere in the 8,000-strong crowd.

They play well on the newly-laid artificial surface, and their tempo is hard to counteract. They have gone up a gear as they set their sights on Super League before the drawbridge is pulled up next season, and I fancy their chances against the likes of Widnes and Hull KR in the play-offs.

Following the transatlantic trip, we have a difficult finish to the first phase of the season.

Next week, in-form Halifax visit Craven Park; we then travel to Dewsbury; and then it's Toulouse Olympique at home, Sheffield away and , the last game of the first phase, London Broncos at home.

There are three very difficult home games, but a couple of winnable away games which would set us up nicely for the final seven games against the teams around us.

If we can maintain eighth position, we are rewarded with four home games, as opposed to three if we finish in the bottom four.

Unusually, this week all the top six clubs play the bottom six, and barring any shocks the bottom half of the table should remain the same, with those crucial seven points between us and the bottom-two, Swinton and Rochdale.

Last week, I was on commentary duty at Derwent Park and witnessed Workington defeat Doncaster 34- 6 with an excellent performance.

Star of the show was Fuifui Moimoi, the big Tongan prop who was unstoppable near the try line and scored two bulldozing tries.

He is a real crowd pleaser and, even at the age of 38, he can still do a job in the Championship. But is this his swansong season?

Hopefully Town can get promoted so we can enjoy a Cumbrian derby once again, but Bradford and York look favourites to go up.

They are at the halfway stage, with 13 games to play, and the format is different this year, with the top club gaining automatic promotion and the next four qualifying for the play-offs.