Workington Town hooker Stuart Howarth impressed by club's breakthrough stars

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Workington Town hooker Stuart Howarth believes the club's amateur recruits have become better players for their experiences in a gruelling debut League One campaign.

Town eventually made the Super Eights but a late push for the play-offs fell short with back-to-back defeats against Barrow and Keighley.

Despite the disappointment of missing out on the top five, Howarth believes the club and particularly the players recruited from local amateur sides during the winter can be proud of their efforts.

He said: "You could see it as an average season but we've had a lot of amateur players from local clubs come in and I think they've been brilliant.

"I can easily see them becoming really well-rounded players in League One, the Championship or wherever they end up so it's been a good development for them.

"With the relegation last year and the number of players we lost, even back in December or January we were struggling to put a team together.

"The board has done a brilliant job with what we've got and we've built something here.

"Making the Super Eights was an achievement in itself and having a crack at the top five would maybe have been overachieving this year."

Howarth limped off during the 28-6 defeat at Keighley and he admitted a bad start to the game had left Town with too much to do.

"We just didn't start well enough," he said.

"I thought we underestimated Keighley a little bit, maybe because of the way we started last time.

"We wasted a lot of energy in the first half.

"We were always in the game but never looked like we were never going to win it with the amount of ball we gave away."

And Howarth insisted the players still understand the importance of Sunday's crunch derby clash against Whitehaven.

He said: "I don't think it matters whether we're both at the bottom or the top of the league; it's a derby and everyone involved wants to win desperately so that's what we'll be training to do this week."

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