WORKINGTON Town head coach Chris Thorman has demanded his team put in a performance to be proud of in their high-stakes derby clash with “hot favourites” Whitehaven.

Town had already lost the Good Friday game against Haven before Thorman took charge of Town in May, so he is excited for his first taste of West Cumbrian derby action at the Recreation Ground on Sunday (3pm kick-off).

The match could be a decisive factor in how both teams’ seasons end, with Haven currently sitting four points clear at the top of the League 1 table and looking to seal the title and automatic promotion, while Town hope to strengthen their grip on the final play-offs place.

“There’s been a fair bit of hype surrounding it,” Thorman said. “I’ve been involved in derby games before but not this one so it’s pretty exciting – it’s all I’ve been asked about since I arrived at the club.

“We just have to be professional and prepare for it like any other game, although it is a little bit different and will have more spice to it.

“There is a lot at stake and a lot of pride on the line.

“I really want the team to give a performance that the people of Workington will be proud of.”

Thorman did not shy away from the fact that Whitehaven have been dominant this season and will present as tough a test as his side have faced.

Instead, he turned up the heat on Town’s rivals, labelling them favourites ahead of one of the biggest derby games in years.

He said: “They are not top of the league for nothing so they will be hot favourites and we’re comfortable with that.

“The crowd will play a big part because you can’t replicate that in training but we’ll be prepared, ready and excited for the challenge.

“We need to train with quite a bit of intent and we want to whack each other a little bit.”

Town will be without captain Ollie Wilkes for the trip after Thorman confirmed the game had come too soon for him to feature.

Wilkes went under the knife on July 9 for a clear-out operation which sidelined him for the London Skolars and Keighley Cougars games.

Thorman said: “He was targeting this game for obvious reasons but he’s just going to fall short.”

One player Thorman is hoping for better news on is Carl Forber, who left the field against Cougars with a shoulder injury.

“I’m happy to give Carl up until Saturday to prove his fitness,” Thorman said.

“Jamie Doran can kick goals and Danny Tickle has probably got more than 1,000 Super League points so I’m not worried about that.

“It’s more the balance of our team; we are a better team with Carl Forber in it.

“I’ve got a couple of things in mind that I’ll do if we have to go without Carl.”