Barrow Raiders head coach Paul Crarey says he is excited by squad competition and is giving the chance to youngsters to shine this weekend in the pre-season friendly against Workington Town.

The Raiders return to action for the first time since round one of the Betfred Challenge Cup back in March, with the fixture available via OURLeague for £4.95 early bird rising to £10 on the day, while the club is also set to play the match inside the brand new marquee at the Matt Johnson Prestige Stadium.

Crarey was impressed by the defence against Oldham, and is looking forward to seeing his squad play again this Sunday.

He said: “I think when we played Oldham, defensively we were sound. This weekend, we are playing on a small track and we specifically picked these pre-season friendlies as some League 1 teams play on smaller grounds and we play them pretty early, so it gives us good preparation.

“I’m expecting a really physical encounter. We’ll have to play through them and not around them and it is another step towards the start of the season.”

Crarey also says he is giving youngsters the chance to shine in the weekend’s fixture, with just three weeks until the 2021 season opener against Coventry Bears.

He said: “Youngsters will be given a chance this weekend to test the physicality of the division. We have some dual-registration players from last year who have put a lot of work in so it would be good for them to get the reward of playing.

“Charlie Emslie, Sam Jones and Liam Saunders will be amongst those given a chance, alongside new signing Connor Terrill. They’re all promising, young players and hopefully will be getting a good run. We have a fantastic academy and I think we’ve signed a player every single year from academy, so it’s fantastic to see that system be successful.”

The club is excited to open the new beer garden and marquee this weekend, which proved to be a great success last year and is already booking up quickly, as well as the successful Easter Camp and tig and pass on weekends.

On the success, Crarey added: “It’s fantastic what they’ve done. I went in this week and it was absolutely brilliant. The club has gone to a different level in terms of off the field and going the next level and we’re heading in the right direction.

“Our community side is unbelievable, it’s outstanding. It’ll be great for fans to be inside the ground this weekend for the first time in a long time.

“The response we had before the Oldham game with texts of good luck was unbelievable, my phone didn’t stop pinging all day.

“Fans and sponsors keep clubs going at our level, and we have some fantastic support and sponsors and probably have one of if not the best support in the league.”

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