Whitehaven coach Gary Charlton is looking to maintain his good record in Ike Southward Memorial matches, on the opposite side of Cumbria’s rugby league divide.

Charlton coached Workington Town from 2009 to 2014 and apart from the first and the last won the other four pre-season clashes.

“I never played in one of the Ike games but was involved six times as a coach and had a good record so it would be nice to start at Whitehaven with a win,” said Charlton.

“But that’s not the important thing. It’s about remembering a Cumbrian great of rugby league and getting the best out of the game for the players, building for the new season.

“Ike was a good friend of my dad [Paul Charlton] and obviously I got to know him and his sons through that.

“Not only was Ike a legend in the game, who virtually did everything – record tries, internationals, record transfer twice – but he was a top bloke as well.

“It’s a great way to remember him and everyone knows how the fans enjoy Town v Haven matches.

“I think it also brings the best out of the players, too.

“As far as I’m concerned we will be going all out to win it, because winning matches breeds confidence and leads to better things.

“There isn’t an easy local derby and just because it isn’t a League game won’t change things. I can only speak for the Whitehaven squad, and they are all looking forward to it. I have no doubt the Workington players are the same.

“The players have worked really hard since they came back to training and it will be good to see on Sunday just how forward we are for the season proper when it opens on February 17.”

Charlton had asked Town if they could both use as many substitutes as they wanted, rather than sticking to the regulation four.

“I spoke to the assistant coach Craig McDowell and he’s happy that we should be able do that so I imagine both teams will have 20/21 players ready to play on the day,” said the Haven coach.

Chris Taylor will make his own decision on fitness after picking-up a serious knee injury at the back end of last season. He has, however, training well over the last few weeks.