Coach wants to reach final for Barrow supporters
PAUL Crarey hopes to have winning smile on his face after the League One Cup semi-final clash at Craven Park this Sunday (kick-off 2pm).
But first his brilliant Barrow Raiders side have to overcome Oxford to book their trip to Blackpool for the Summer Bash in May.
On paper it may look a foregone conclusion – Barrow are unbeaten so far this season and are perched second in the table on points difference, while Oxford hold 10th position.
But Crarey has done his homework on Barrow’s opponents and does not expect Oxford to be pushovers as he bids to take the Raiders to the final and give the fans a day to remember.
After what has been an incredible week which has seen Barrow earn a place in the Challenge Cup sixth round at Super League Leeds Rhinos on May 15 after defeating York City Knights 50-28, Crarey is keen to keep his foot on the pedal and overcome Oxford and set up a final against either the 2015 cup winners North Wales Crusaders or Gloucestershire All Golds.
But as Crarey said ahead of the game: “We want to go to take these fans to Blackpool, we have said that from week one.
“I watched them on video this week and there are not a lot of errors in them, they run real hard and they are very big and tough and they can play a little bit.
“If we are complacent, give up field position and give penalties away and invite them on to play we could be in a little bit of trouble, but we are playing pretty well at the moment. I think we are ready for them.”
He added: “Oxford are here on merit, they have earned the right to be here.”
“This is probably their cup final. Nobody thought Gloucester would go to Workington and beat them but they did so we have just got to be on our guard and not be complacent.”
Crarey and his coaching team have put the Raiders squad through their paces this week in preparation for the match, with the coach hoping the players will be fully focused on the task ahead and avoid a potential banana skin.
“We have got to be a little bit more clinical defensively, principles were pretty poor last week in certain areas,” he said. “Attacking-wise we were at our best probably with 11 tries, but defensively we let in 28 points.
“These have got a good short kicking game and they have a good kick chase, so that is another threat we have got to deal with. But if we are on it we should be fine, but it’s the lads that have got to be on it not the coaching staff.”
Bradd Crellin will miss the match as he recovers from injury but Ryan Fieldhouse, who received oxygen after an injury last week, has recovered will be available for selection.
“Hopefully the Craven Park faithful can get down and cheer us on to the Big Bash and hopefully we can do them proud and take them there,” said Crarey. “We are really looking forward to the fixture.”
Meanwhile half-back Jamie Dallimore had his six-match ban reduced by one following appeal at the Rugby Football League.
Catch the full interview from coach Paul Crarey on the Raiders Facebook page.
See you at the game.