Carl Forster is looking forward to the distraction of the Coral Challenge Cup at the weekend.

Forster, who had two years as coach at the Recreation Ground, knows it will be tough but welcomes the break from the rigours of Championship rugby.

“We have had it tough with three of our six games against teams who are full-time,” he said.

“That showed up again in our game with Widnes last Sunday when we started well enough until their extra fitness told.

“We were trying to do what they did but Widnes were just that much quicker.

“The Challenge Cup will be a good distraction, although I know too well that not many teams go up to Whitehaven and return home with a win.

“Last season’s result should be a warning when the Hornets were soundly beaten at the Recreation Ground.

“It will be a chance to freshen-up a few things and give some other players a chance to show what they can do.”

Rochdale have lost five of their first six Championship games and crashed heavily at Whitehaven in the Challenge Cup last year.

The Whitehaven board, and the club’s hard-working committees, are introducing a number of initiatives to help boost the gate.

Children Under-16 will be allowed in for free as long as they are accompanied by an adult, and fans who go into the ground before 1pm will only be charged £10.

In another gesture, this time by the Ladies Committee, the first 50 mothers through the gates will be given a box of chocolates to celebrate Mother’s Day.

“We are continually trying to come up with new ideas and initiatives to add to the matchday experience,” said chairman Tommy Todd.