Whitehaven have arranged a third pre-season warm-up game and will host Newcastle Thunder on Sunday, February 10.

There had been initial talks about playing Thunder on January 27 but that was dropped because several players were unavailable that weekend.

The two League One clubs have now agreed on February 10 for the friendly which will be a week ahead of the start of the season. There is still some doubt about Haven’s first League One game taking place as so many issues still surround the future of scheduled opponents Keighley Cougars.

Whitehaven coach Gary Charlton had been looking for a home warm-up game after two away fixtures at Workington Town (lost 24-6 on Sunday) and Barrow (being played this Sunday). It might take on more significance if the Keighley game is cancelled as Whitehaven would then open with a free week before a potentially tough game at Oldham on February 24.

Oldham, who start on February 17 at home to Workington, are already being tipped to be the team to beat in League One this year.

Meanwhile, Whitehaven chairman Tommy Todd said that he had no qualms about Sunday’s result with Town regaining the Ike Southard Memorial Trophy.

“I don’t think we can complain about the result because Workington were the better team on the day and deserved to win. It was the first game for both of us, though, and there’s still a month to go before the League One season starts so time for improvement,” said Todd. “We are just pleased to have fitted in a third warm-up game because I think it’s what our coach [Charlton] has been looking for. Newcastle are being tipped to do really well this year so it will be interesting to see how they shape up.”

Newcastle don’t start their warm-up campaign until Saturday when they take on a Wakefield Trinity side at Kingston Park. Thunder have just entered into a partnership with Trinity for the season ahead so are likely to be able to use some of their younger players in the weeks ahead. Experienced half-back Liam Finn, 35, has just signed for Newcastle although he will also be part of the coaching set-up at Wakefield. Newcastle coach Jason Payne said: “As such, he will know who the most promising youngsters are and I’m hopeful we can benefit from that.”