Whitehaven break new ground tomorrow when they welcome the French side Toulouse Olympique for an important Championship fixture.

New friendships will be established, but for 80 minutes out on the Recreation Ground the only thought will be to earn the first points of the season.

After two disappointing home defeats to Swinton and Oldham, this looks the toughest task set the West Cumbrians as Toulouse sit joint-top of the competition.

They have won all three games so far and clearly have their sights set on joining their French counterparts Catalan Dragons in the top flight.

Whitehaven, of course, have played Catalan in the Challenge Cup a couple of years ago when the French side went all the way to the final and lifted the trophy.

Chairman Tom Todd said: “It’s always nice to meet new opponents, and it’s especially interesting when they come from across the Channel.

"I am hoping they enjoy their visit to Whitehaven, although not for what happens out there on the field.

“Results have not gone our way so far this season but let’s hope that today is not just our first win over Toulouse but also our first league points of the season.

“We hope that we can start to build up some points and drift away from the clubs above us. Can I assure fans that the football committee is doing all it can to strengthen the side.

“It’s a difficult task with a real paucity of players out there at a cost the club can afford but, as I say the committee members are trying very, very hard and I can’t thank them enough for their efforts.”

Whitehaven coach Gary Charlton should be able to include Sam Dowsett and Connor Holliday in a Championship squad for the first time this season, as long as they came through last night’s training with no reaction from their earlier hamstring concerns.

Brett Phillips and Sam Forrester are ruled out through suspensions, while Chris Taylor and Glenn Riley still have injury issues.

Team manager Des Byrne said: “Chris was up in midweek for treatment and he is waiting for word to visit hospital for a scan on his knee.

“Glenn is improving all the time with his knee-cap injury, but is still not ready to return to action.”