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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Barker out to stake his claim says Barry

DANNY Barker is set to put an unlucky 2011 behind him and stake a claim for a first-team slot next term.

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preparing for a big 2012: Haven’s Danny Barker

That’s the prediction of chief executive Barry Richardson, after Barker penned a new deal for the new campaign.

The big back-rower looked set for a great season after featuring in five of the first six games of last season, scoring two tries.

But he was then hampered by a knee injury which meant a long stint on the sideline, and he did not play again for the first-team.

However a winter stint in the amateur game with his old club Glasson has helped him regain his sharpness and he is looking set for a big say in 2012.

Richardson said: “Danny has proved he has the ability to do very well and is still an outstanding prospect for Whitehaven.

“He’s looking very good in training and he has the opportunity to be a very good player for Whitehaven.

“He has come through playing for Glasson in the truncated season, and we are expecting really good things from him.

“We are well-blessed in the back-row, and there will be competition for places. Danny is whole-hearted behind the club and is one of the players who volunteers to coach in schools occasionally. He’s one of the first to put his hand up.”

He will be up against fellow Under-23s product Bradd Crellin and new recruit Peter Bewsher, from Egremont Rangers, for a place, in addition to more-established team-mates.

Meanwhile, Haven’s fans’ trust, in limbo over recent months, is again open to new members.

Trust in Haven has a troubled history, but a new steering group has now been formed and the trust is looking to a brighter future.

Formal board elections are planned in the new year and members who joined between January 21 and June 19 this year are entitled to free membership for the following 12 months.

The new-look trust, keen to attract young members, is looking to work closely with the main Haven board, and, in time, have a major voice in the club, though it is prepared to be patient.

Dave Elthorpe, steering group chairman, said: “We have to walk before we can run. We have to build it in stages, work with the main board and support new players. If we work together we will end up with a strong Whitehaven.”

Application forms are available on the Trust in Haven website.

Aussie forward Luke Isakka is set to return to action in the derby clash with Workington Town next month.

If the pre-season match had gone ahead as planned on Boxing Day, he would have missed out. But he will be back from a short visit Down Under for the trip to Derwent Park on January 15.

He was due in the UK this week, and coach Don Gailer is impressed he has given up the chance to spend New Year in his homeland to return to the Recre.

“He’s pretty keen to get back and start work, and I’m thankful for that attitude. He is pretty solid, and we have to be strong in the middle if we want to be competitive,” the coach said.

Isakka was a first-choice forward last season and was one of the first players named by Haven as signing a fresh deal for 2012.

The festive clash was postponed by Town following a string of injuries, though Haven will also clearly be stronger on the rescheduled date.

Gailer is prepared to field his entire squad at Workington. He is keen to assess all his options at Derwent Park and again a week later against visitors Oldham, before deciding on the side to host Leeds Rhinos at the end of the month in the club’s final pre-season friendly.

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