THE PACK will soon be back in action for the first time since before the first lockdown.

League One rugby league side, Workington Town has announced their first friendly of 2021, due to take place on Sunday April 18.

Although the stakes are low, Town players will be excited for the pre-season clash as it will be a Cumbrian derby against Barrow Raiders.

Workington Town head coach Chris Thorman said: “It’s what we do, we’re not professional trainers, we’re professional players.”

The friendly will be a welcome opportunity to see players in a competitive setting, before the games have an impact on rankings.

“The fact that we haven’t played for over 12 months, that’s something that we’ve never done before. Even though it’s termed a friendly game, the lads are really looking forward to playing against some opposition.

“It does give us a slight edge especially against a local club like Barrow.”

Thorman said that the game is also a method: “To give the lads that we have on trial the opportunity to stake a claim for a shirt in 2021.”

Town have been back training at Derwent Park since February, coach Thorman paid tribute to the volunteers that have helped make the sessions happen.

“There’s been a lot of work done behind the scenes for us to get into this position. I just want to state my appreciation for those volunteers. My job is about making sure we have beneficial, positive training sessions that make this team better, but all at the same time working within the boundaries of Covid. Hopefully as Covid reduces, training sessions are going to be even better.”

Before training returned to Derwent Park, Town bosses ensured their players were staying in shape individually.

Thorman said: “Even when they aren’t here with us we expect them to do the right thing.”

New gym facilities are supporting players in their training even on days where they aren’t on the training field.”

Town recently extended the contract of Hanley Dawson until 2022, he joined the side from Millom RLFC, an amateur side. The right players progressing into Town from the community game is a key ambition for Thorman.

He said: “I’d rather sign players that we can nurture than bring people from outside the county. It gives the club an identity and the fans something to relate to. Hanley just happens to be a local lad. The most important thing is they’ve got to be a good rugby league player.”