Whitehaven have applied to join the Rugby League’s new Reserve Championship next season.

A total of 20 teams will contest the competition, split into two divisions. Thirteen of the Super League clubs have been guaranteed places, along with Widnes and Bradford while Newcastle Thunder also seem likely to be given a spot after substantial work with their Academy.

That would leave four places to be filled and director Andrew Canavan is hopeful of Whitehaven being accepted as one of the successful applicants.

He said: “We think it is so important towards the development of the club as a whole.

“Over the years we have lost so many potential players to Super League clubs, yet so many of them have returned to the area with very limited experience.

“I think I can name 11 players in our current squad who spent time with Super League clubs but got little or no playing experience from it. How good it would be if we could sign our own players and give them regular rugby?

“They would train with the first team, work to the same structures and be ready to step-up when the opportunity came.

“It’s something we are already working on. Gary Charlton is aware of what we are trying to do and is fully supportive.

“We are looking at up to 20 players from across Cumbria – from Wigton to Millom – who we feel would be perfect for the Reserve team next season.

“The cost of running the reserve squad has been estimated at £40,000 and we are looking at ways of providing sponsorship and financial backing to that particular group of players.

“I think it’s important that we are able to take part in the competition next season and I hope we get some positive news from the Rugby Football League in the next month.”

Injuries have threatened to hold-back Whitehaven’s progress this season but the depth of the squad has shown to be perfectly adequate. They had limited choices – only 17 available players – for the trip to Featherstone to play Doncaster on Sunday.

But after trailing at half-time Haven responded superbly to come from behind and win 22-14 with former coach Carl Forster helping himself to two tries.Coach Charlton is hopeful that he will have five more names to add to his available pool of players for the next game at Hunslet a week on Sunday.

Dion Aiye (calf), Brett Phillips (eye socket) and Jake Moore (hamstring) should have recovered from injury while Dave Thompson has completed his one match suspension and Sam Forrester is available after being unable to travel to Featherstone.