Whitehaven coach Carl Forster admits he was delighted to see both Haven and League 1 showcase themselves in a positive light in the Challenge Cup last weekend: but insists they are fully-focused on kickstarting their league campaign on Sunday.
Haven head into this Sunday’s crucial clash with Hemel without a point to their name so far in 2018, having lost both their opening league fixtures.
However, they were one of several sides to stun Championship opposition in last weekend’s fourth round of the Challenge Cup when they beat Dewsbury – and Forster is hopeful that will provide a springboard for their league campaign.
“We switch off the cup now and focus solely on the league for a few weeks,” Forster told TotalRL.
“We’ve got a run of eight games where we can pile some points on the table – and it all starts with Hemel. We’re ready for it.”
Questions have been asked in some quarters about the future of League 1 following reports some senior officials are keen to make the competition amateur.
Forster, a long-time advocate of League 1’s strengths, was pleased therefore to see three teams – themselves, York and Oldham – beat higher-ranked opposition in the cup last weekend,
“It proves that the top end of League 1 is right up there with the Championship in a way, doesn’t it?” he said.
“The likes of Bradford, York, Doncaster, ourselves.. we’d back ourselves against anyone. It’s a credit to how strong the competition is that last year, only three or four teams probably had a realistic shot of promotion. This year, you could double that. It’s a great competition with some great talent in it – it was nice to see last weekend show that a little bit.”
Forster is also keen for his side to showcase their best form – with a West Cumbrian derby against Workington on Good Friday just days away.
“We need a win, and a performance, this week to go into the derby in good form,” he stressed.
“The squad are looking healthy, with the likes of Chris Taylor and Danny Green coming back in. Everyone’s playing for places and they know that with the derby on the horizon, competition will be intense.”
Forster himself is in a race to be fit for the game at the Recreation Ground – he will miss Sunday’s game due to an injury concern, but has not ruled himself out of Good Friday’s game.