Whitehaven will go back to Derwent Park on Good Friday as joint League One leaders – three months after losing hold of the Ike Southward Memorial Trophy.

Workington Town won the first derby game of the season 24-6 to win back the trophy and set up what promises to be a very tight league campaign.

Haven coach Gary Charlton felt there was a lot to come after that defeat and, after a slow start to the season proper, they have hit a promising vein of form.

The Recreation Ground side laboured to a home win over a hastily put together Keighley side and then were second best when they lost at pre-season title favourites Oldham.

But since then it’s largely been onwards and upwards from Charlton’s men with excellent wins over Doncaster and Hunslet, two of the better sides in the competition. They’ve also won in West Wales and outplayed Championship side Rochdale for long periods before falling to two late sucker punches which cost them their Coral Challenge Cup-tie.

“All we’ve asked from the players is to keep on improving and working hard, and that’s generally what we’ve got from them,” said Charlton.

“It’s nice to have got into a share of the lead but the hard part, of course, is staying that way and the only means of doing that is retaining consistency and not letting standards slip,” he added.

Charlton, of course, is a former Town coach who earned respect for his work at Derwent Park alongside Martin Oglanby in stabalising the club in the Championship. His assistant Jonty Gorley also spent a number of years at Derwent Park.

Charlton and Gorley will be checking the fitness of both Chris Taylor and Dave Thompson at tonight’s training session, hoping that both will make the squad for Friday. Taylor has the best chance, but Charlton has stressed that they won’t take unnecessary risks with either.