Whitehaven are due to open the new League One season on February 17 against crisis club Keighley Cougars.

Local rivals Workington Town will start at Oldham, one of the sides expected to rival them for promotion favouritism when the bookies bring out their odds.

For Whitehaven it will be a case of following developments at Lawkholme Lane where the Cougars are in financial disarray.

General manager Steve Gill stepped down on Friday admitting he had ‘no option’ in the current wages crisis surrounding the club.

He said he felt ‘devastated’ at the situation, which has seen a player exodus - with Scott Law the latest big name to leave, and Craig Lingard quit as head coach.

Gill said: “I don’t feel I can justify my job and move forward while the club is in special measures, while we have got players leaving us hand over fist and while players are not getting paid.

“I don’t feel I can do my job as I need to.”

Players and staff say wages have been unpaid going back to August, claiming that the latest deadline being missed was on Tuesday.

No such problems at Oldham who will be fancied to challenge strongly for a promotion place and their opening day clash with Town will be a good for coaches Scott Naylor and Leon Pryce.

Haven’s first away trip will also be to Oldham on the second weekend of the season, February 24, while Town fans will welcome their favourites back to Derwent Park on the same day against North Wales Crusaders.

The Easter derby will be staged by Workington Town on Good Friday, April 19 with Haven staging the return at the Recreation Ground on August 4.

Both clubs complete the regular season with home games on September 8 with Whitehaven hosting Coventry Bears and Town entertaining Doncaster.