Barrow Raiders must use last weekend’s Cumbrian derby victory over Workington Town as a platform from which to build, according to forward and assistant coach Carl Forster.
Paul Crarey’s side strengthened their grip on sixth spot in the Betfred Championship with Sunday’s 26-12 victory over their local rivals, consigning the visitors to an 11th straight league defeat in 2022.
Forster bagged his second try of the season, while further scores from winger Brett Carter, half-back Ryan Johnston, full-back Luke Cresswell and versatile forward Dan Toal cemented victory at the Matt Johnson Prestige Stadium.
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Forster had missed the previous two matches due to illness, but he says a return to winning ways – both personally and as a club – could lay the foundations to rediscover consistency as they prepare to visit Dewsbury Rams this weekend.
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Discussing last week’s derby day triumph, he said: “I won’t lie, I love playing against Workington! But obviously it was really important we got back to that winning feeling and mentality.
“The game became huge for us to get back to the standard we expect of ourselves. We’ve played some really tough games lately; matches we were not exactly expected to win.
“But these games [against lower-placed teams] are the ones we expect ourselves to win, and it will be the same again this weekend. We have high expectations of ourselves and we’re an ambitious group.”
Sunday’s victory came despite the absence of Jarrod Sammut – who was shining on international duty for Malta – and the suspended Hakim Miloudi.
Sammut’s absence saw Johnston return to the fold, while fellow playmaker Jake Carter produced a composed display on home soil.
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Forster admits it is pleasing to see the squad enjoy success on the pitch, even without some of their household names.
“Obviously it’s always a big miss when players are unavailable or injured, but it then gives other lads a chance to impress and I think that’s exactly what they did,” he said.
“Also, when we have players like Dan Toal who can just basically play anywhere and do the job so well, it helps the group massively.”
Discussing the hunger within the Raiders squad, he added: “To be honest, the young lads in the group are great.
“But like every player in the group, they are willing to do the hard graft and are wanting to learn all the time. So it’s nice to pass small details on and see them improve week by week.”
The Raiders travelled to Yorkshire three times during April, winning once. However, they will return once more this weekend, to visit a Dewsbury side with just two league wins to their name in 2022.
Despite being six places higher in the table, Forster insists victory is no guarantee as his side look to build momentum, and that the squad need to remain grounded as they look to produce a strong finish in their first season back in the Betfred Championship.
“A trip to Yorkshire is always tough,” he said. “They’re a big set of lads and it’s a hard place to go, but these are the fixtures we need to aim at getting the two points, and likewise they will think the same about us.
“We just need to keep building and play like we did in the first 20 minutes against Workington. We’ve got a much needed weekend off following the game, so it will be great to go into that following a win.”
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