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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Haven trio back in contention for derby showdown

Whitehaven could be set to inject a fresh dose of local pride in to their derby play-off clash against Workington Town on Sunday with three Cumbrian aces coming back in to contention.

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Stephen Fox: Returns from injury

Stephen Fox, Martyn Wilson and Danny Barker are expected to give the stand-in coaching team, led by Dave Smith, a selection headache for the sudden death thriller, after recovering from minor knocks.

Fox has missed the last four outings, Wilson the last two, while Barker has spent most of the season on loan at Gateshead Thunder.

“It’s good to have three fit players coming back in to the squad at this time of the season,” chief executive Barry Richardson said.

“And we are looking for all three to be back in the squad next year in the Championship, all being well.

“It was good of Danny to go to Gateshead to get game time, while Martyn Wilson and Stephen Fox have really stuck with it.

“Workington have had an exceptional season and I honestly thought they would win the league. If they had, it would have been fully justified.

“They have done fantastically well over the last few years to get back up to this level.

“It’s has been a good competition this year, with the top four all performing well, and it’s good that a Cumbrian club is guaranteed to be in the final.

“It’s a big step up for us next year but we’ll put together a team that hopefully will be competitive within our financial constraints. We need to get back the feel-good factor.”

Haven’s allocation from the RFL will actually fall next term, when Championship clubs will each receive £90,000. Championship One clubs this season receive £100,000.

Late applications took the number looking to be Haven’s new head coach to 17. A shortlist of five has been compiled and interviews will conclude tomorrow.

Whitehaven are looking to make big Dave Houghton their second recruit for their return to the Championship after he enjoyed an impressive debut season at the Recreation Ground.

The prop has started every match this term bar one, and Haven are making no secret that they would like him to return for their step-up to the second tier in 2013, after already securing the services of playmaker Jamie Rooney.

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