Raiders hooker Ashall ready to face Ironmen

SKILFUL hooker Karl Ashall is ready to return for Barrow Raiders after suffering four months of ‘torture’  on the sidelines following a broken arm. 

The clever number nine will slot into his old role for  Barrow who look to extend their unbeaten League One run against South Wales Ironmen at Craven Park this Saturday (kick-off 6.30pm). 

“I can’t wait to get back,”  said Ashall who has been back in non-contact training for the past six weeks. 

“I have never had an injury like this before and to be out for so long has absolutely killed me, I am not used to it at all.  

“The longest I have ever missed is two weeks, so to be out for months like I have has been absolutely torture for me. 

 “But it’s been great seeing the lads do so well, it has been easy to watch.  I hate  doing conditioning every week when they are passing the ball around and I can’t wait to get back I am really excited for it  

“I feel really lucky to have been selected to play this weekend to show what I have been waiting to do since January 15.” 

Ashall is one of a number of changes for Barrow as coach Paul Crarey prepares rotate his squad for a busy month ahead. 

A midweeker at Keighley follows the South Wales clash with enormous games coming thick and fast – the Challenge Cup sixth round clash at Super League Leeds Rhinos, the trip to Toronto, and the Summer Bash League One Cup final against Ashall’s former club North Wales Crusaders at Blackpool.  

For Ashall at the moment the match against the Ironmen is foremost in his thoughts, as he added: “There is no easy game in rugby and there is never any easy game in the middle, every lad is the same that runs at you, you have got to tackle them the same whether it is a top of the table clash or a bottom of the table clash.  

“It will be a good test for me, get some minutes under my belt and get match fit and back to where I was when I started pre-season. 

“With us playing such good rugby at the minute I will be covering a lot of the field, getting to play the balls and stuff like that. You can’t get match fit without playing and this will be a good game for me to get back and get the ball rolling.” 

Ashall competes for the hooking berth with  Nathan Mossop and Dan Abram, and is hoping, like his rivals, to cement a position for the big games ahead. 

“We all would,” he said.  “But we are good mates on and off the field and at the end of the day Cresta picks the team on performances, and if I am not good enough at the weekend there is no doubt Dan or Mossy will come back in, whoever isn’t playing, for me and that’s only fair, I would expect the same. 

“I am lucky this week, I have got back in. I am going to do my best for the team and for myself to try and make a shirt for myself for a busy month that we have got coming up. 

“It is an exciting month for us and hopefully we can pick up some more  wins.” 

Should Barrow defeat South Wales it will extend their winning run to  12 games, but Crarey said ahead of the game against South Wales: “There a possible banana skin if we are not on it, but I am sure we will be. I have made a few changes only because of the run of games we have got 

“We have talked about not letting the squad down and keeping this good  run going and hopefully we will do that.” 

Catch interviews with Karl Ashall and Paul Crarey on the Barrow Raiders Facebook page. 

See you on match day. 

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