Coach Gary Charlton has no doubts over the main ingredient of Whitehaven’s successful League One season.

With two games left in the regular season – when victories would clinch the title – Whitehaven have the best defence in the competition.

Charlton says: “We have put a lot of work into our defence, during pre-season and once we got started.

“We have continued to put a lot of emphasis on defence as the season has progressed. So it’s satisfying to see that you can potentially win a League title through really strong defending.”

Whitehaven have conceded just over (on average) 15 points a game. Super League toppers St Helens have shipped on average 14 points and Championship leaders Toronto Wolfpack 13 points.

Haven have conceded only 277 points in their 18 games and will be aiming for two shut-outs against West Wales Raiders on Sunday and Coventry Bears on September 7.

In addition they will have the opportunity to improve their points differential, which surprisingly for long-time League leaders is the lowest in the top five.

They are on 159 but their pursuers Oldham (256), Newcastle (343), Hunslet (245) and Doncaster (193) all stand better at the moment.

Making sure they beat both West Wales and Coventry is the main priority, and scoring a barrow-load of points will be the bonus.

Charlton explained the figures by saying: “We know that we have a good chance of winning the game if we can do a good job defensively, keeping the opposition limited to the points they score against us.

“I think it’s been massive, too, that we have been the most consistent team and with our defensive qualities that’s probably why we are sitting top of the League.

“But it’s not over yet and I expect us to go out and play to the level we have been doing all season.

“If we can do that against the Raiders and the Bears then I’m sure the results will take care of themselves.”

The first of the two concluding games is this Sunday’s home clash with West Wales who have shipped 1017 points so far.

Their trip to West Cumbria is the final game of the season for them.

Coventry, who host Whitehaven a week on Saturday, entertain Oldham who are currently second – two points behind the Recreation Ground side.

That makes it unlikely that Whitehaven will be able to proclaim themselves champions by Sunday tea-time and it will go down to the last weekend.

Chairman Tom Todd said: “It would have been nice to clinch it in front of our own fans but I don’t think that will happen.

“Even so, I expect another excellent turnout to show their appreciation of what the team has achieved this season.

“By all accounts we are going to have an excellent following to Rugby where we play Coventry. Hopefully that’s going to be a special day for the club.”