Barrow Raiders’ five-game winning streak stands the squad in good stead heading into a difficult month of fixtures, according to hooker Nathan Mossop.
Victory over Widnes Vikings at the Summer Bash ensured the Raiders remained unbeaten in July, helping Paul Crarey’s side climb to fifth in the Betfred Championship table and further enhance their hopes of a play-off place.
As the club continues to excel on their return to the second tier, Mossop admits their success this season has surpassed expectations.
“As a group, we’re all self-aware of where we’re at,” he said. “We’ve done fantastically this season, perhaps exceeding a few people’s predictions on where we were going to finish in the league.
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“It isn’t done yet, but we’ve certainly guaranteed our safety now and cemented our place in the play-offs.”
On their recent run of results, he added: “It was a fantastic July. Cresta has already said that August is going to be a tough month for us, but it’s certainly a challenge that we are looking forward to.
“It’s an opportunity for the whole squad to have some game time over the next few weeks as well.”
Mossop has appeared 24 times for the Raiders in all competitions this season and is also celebrating his testimonial year, as granted by the RFL.
He admits their upcoming assignment, away at promotion favourites and runaway league leaders Leigh Centurions, is perhaps the toughest game to date.
That fixture will be followed by games against fellow play-off hopefuls Batley Bulldogs and Featherstone Rovers, before a trip to Newcastle Thunder to round off the month.
“We’re all looking forward to the challenge, but we’re all very aware of the talent that they have in their squad,” he admitted ahead of Sunday’s trip to Leigh Sports Village. “They’ve got a vast amount of Super League and NRL experience, and a coach that was in the Super League last year.
“It’s exciting for the younger boys to be playing against potentially some players that they have idolised in their earlier years.
“Leigh are a fantastic side and they’re going extremely well this year, but we’re looking forward to the challenge on Sunday.”
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The Raiders ran the Centurions close on their visit to the Matt Johnson Prestige Stadium back in June, with a late, long-range Blake Ferguson try ensuring Adrian Lam’s side ran out 30-28 winners after a thrilling battle.
Mossop, 34, insists lessons will be learned from that day as the Raiders look to use the tag of underdogs to their advantage this weekend.
“Playing those top teams and being able to perform on the day gives you confidence, because you’re aware of what that group will throw at you,” he said.
“That’s been the mentality that we’ve had this year. We’ve had that confidence, but I’ve not gone into thinking that we’re going to win, and I think that speaks volumes about our group of players where they are willing to work hard for each other.
“We’ve got fantastic strike players like Jarrod Sammut, Hakim Miloudi and Tee Ritson who have achieved so much this year, and then you’ve got your work horses as well which is rife throughout the team.
“As a group we are in a good place. Hopefully towards the back end of the season we can steer clear of injuries and stay together as a group to build some momentum going into the play-offs.”
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