The sons of rugby league legend Ike Southward have made Workington Town head coach Chris Thorman well aware of what is on the line when his team take on Whitehaven this weekend for the annual derby played in his honour.

Town go to the Recreation Ground for Sunday’s derby (2pm kick-off) with a steely determination to get their first win of 2020 and retain the Ike Southward Memorial Trophy – named after the giant of the game who played for and coached Town before crossing the divide to take the reins at fierce rivals Haven.

The annual clash has become a staple of the West Cumbrian rugby league calendar and, while it will also serve as a warm-up game for Thorman’s players as they build towards the start of the League 1 campaign next month, the boss is under no illusions that this will be anything but a friendly game.

He said: “The most important factor in this is it’s a derby and I am well aware of the significance of this fixture.

“I know Ike’s sons pretty well and they have stressed that it needs to be taken seriously because in the past sometimes it hasn’t been.

“The players are definitely ready for the game, they know what it means and they want to win and show what they’re about.”

Thorman watched his team battle to a 12-12 draw in his first taste of action between Workington and Whitehaven in August but he will hope that this time they can get the edge on their neighbours.

He is also keen for his players to perform against a team who will be in the Championship this season and expects it to be a good yardstick to measure how far along his team really are in their preparations.

“The players are getting there and we’re still plugging away about a month away from our first league game,” he said.

“This next month is still all about hard work, practising systems and educating the players.”

Town currently hold the trophy after winning last year’s game 24-6 at Derwent Park.