Whitehaven’s positive start to the season has sparked “green shoots of recovery” where it matters.

With Haven joint top of League One after five games – a quarter of the way through the season – chairman Tom Todd has been encouraged by the response on the terraces!

He said: “It’s important to do well on the field, but in our position – and clubs like us – it’s even more important that you are doing well with your crowd figures.

“We are certainly improving on that score and I think we are seeing the green shoots of recovery, with some of our stay-away fans returning.

“Obviously we would like 1,000-plus at each home game but nearly 900 and over 700 at our two last games have been encouraging when you consider what we were getting last season.

“I think it’s in no small way attributed to the performances of the current squad.

“We played really well in the second half against Doncaster; were the better team for much of the game with Rochdale in the Challenge Cup; and on Sunday worked really hard to beat the league leaders Hunslet.”

The 16-12 win over a big, powerful Hunslet side moved Haven joint top alongside them, leaving the pair two points clear of Oldham and Workington Town who were surprise losers on Sunday.

Todd is also of the opinion that the fact that Whitehaven have made a point of concentrating on a largely local squad with three local coaches has been well received by the supporters.

“We’ve relied on travelling men for a number of years now but this season only have two.

“In many ways I don’t consider Chris Taylor or Dave Thompson to be travellers.

“They are very much part and parcel of the club, dedicated to Whitehaven and very loyal. It has been a pleasure to have them with us.

“Of course Jessie Joe Parker and Dion Aiye are overseas players but they have been with us for so long, living in the town during the season, we also class them as local,” added the chairman.

Ironically Taylor and Thompson are currently injured ahead of Haven’s next League One game at Derwent Park on Good Friday.

Thompson had been expected to be sidelined for up to 12 weeks, depending on whether the knee problem is being caused by ligaments or cartilage.

However, he has trained in the meantime ahead of a scan and had no adverse effects so he could be a surprise inclusion against Town.

Taylor had to come-off early in the win over Hunslet when he felt a hamstring twinge in the warm-up. Although he elected to start was forced to retire after only a few minutes.

The Whitehaven coaching staff are hoping that he will have time to recover before the derby game.

Coach Gary Charlton said: “We think it might have been just a sciatic pain and that he will be OK for Good Friday.

“But, in hindsight, we should probably have left him out on Sunday.”

Andrew Bulman (broken cheekbone) is expected to be out for six to eight weeks while prop Ethan Kelly (broken arm) should be back in four to six weeks.

Charlton said: “We have a squad and players are expected to step up to the plate when we have injuries. They happen as that’s the nature of rugby league and it’s up to other lads to take their chance.

“Dave and Andrew are very good for us on the wings, so to be without both for a few weeks is a blow. But Conor Holliday and Jordan Burns, have come in to replace them and have done very well, which is what you expect from a squad.”