Half-back Jake Carter insists he is ready to step up to the plate in the Betfred Championship as Barrow Raiders look to return to winning ways.

With influential playmaker Jarrod Sammut force to leave the field during last Sunday’s 40-18 defeat to Halifax Panthers, Ryan Johnston carrying an injury and centre Hakim Miloudi still suspended, Carter admits the pressure is on to deliver for his side. 

The 23-year-old is likely to be one of the team’s creative focal point against York City Knights next Monday; something he says he is ready to embrace.

Asked whether he was enjoying the rigours of Championship rugby, Carter said: “I’m loving it. I played a little bit during my first year at the club, but I never really got the chance to play a full season. 

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“In this league and in my position, you’re coming up against some fantastic players who will be on a lot more money and have played at a high level for a number of years. 

“The step up is noticeable, but I’m really enjoying it and hopefully I can keep playing as many games as I can at this level. It’s a good challenge to try and get one over on the people you’re playing against, and some really good teams too.”

He added: “I like to be the organising player with a decent kicking game. 

“I’m going to have to step up, and a lot of the lads will be looking to me to get them around the field, so it’s something that I’ll look forward to. Hopefully I can deal with that, and we can put in a really good performance.”

Carter’s only previous Betfred Championship experience came in 2019, when he made nine appearances for the Raiders during his debut season. 

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He is one game from equalling that tally in 2022, and could be in line to start against the Knights on Monday night as the Premier Sports cameras visit the Matt Johnson Prestige Stadium for the first time.

The club’s previous two televised outings this season resulted in an impressive 34-24 victory away at Widnes Vikings, and a valiant defeat to Super League side Huddersfield Giants in the sixth round of the Betfred Challenge Cup.

Carter believes the squad can draw inspiration from both contests as they look to claim a result on home soil against the third-placed Knights, who have won seven of their opening nine league matches.

Previewing Monday’s clash, he said: “York are absolutely flying, so it’s going to be a tough match. You don’t get any easy games in this division. 

“It’s a game that we’ll be targeting to win, especially after three trips to Yorkshire on the bounce. It’s been a while since we’ve played at home, so hopefully we can get back to winning ways. 

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“More than anything, [playing in front of the TV cameras] generates excitement within the team. 

“You don’t think about it much during the game itself, but during the week, you can use it as a bit of added motivation to put in a good performance. Hopefully we can repeat [our previous performances on TV] and put in a decent showing.”

Carter admits his side need to shrug off last weekend’s defeat at the Shay sooner rather than later, and says it is worth he and his team-mates remembering just how impressive a return to the second division it has been in the early weeks of the season.

“We’ve taken a lot of teams by surprise I think,” he said. “We don’t have the biggest squad or the best facilities in the league, but one thing we do as a group is work hard for each other.

“That’s what has stood us in good stead already this year. We’re ready to grind it out, do all the tough stuff and stick together until the end.”

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