An old problem came back to plague Whitehaven as they kicked-off the pre-season programme at Town’s Derwent Park.

Jessie Joe Parker’s playing visa had not been accepted, despite the fact he has played in this country for a number of years and has been back in west Cumbria since before Christmas.

The Recreation Ground club has had annual waits for visas to be sorted out regarding Parker and his Papua New Guinea compatriot Dion Aiye.

This time, with both back in the area in good time, there were expected to be no problems. Indeed Aiye’s clearance came through and he was able to play in Sunday’s Ike Southward Memorial Trophy game with Town.

Whitehaven chairman Tommy Todd said: “We were surprised when the clearance hadn’t come through for Jessie but we are assured it will be completed very soon. In fact, we were told it could be any day.

“Certainly we are hoping he will be able to resume playing at Barrow this weekend. There are no issues with the Rugby Football League over this and it isn’t the problem we have experienced in the past.”

Parker has played for Whitehaven since 2012 and previously had a season with Featherstone Rovers, scoring more than 100 tries in the British game – the bulk of them for the Cumbrians.

As well as Parker, also absent against Town were Chris Taylor, who was giving an old knee injury longer to heal and Brett Phillips, who was on a pre-booked break.

It’s likely that both will be ready to face Barrow on Sunday when Whitehaven resume their pre-season programme.

The Raiders also lost their opening warm-up game, beaten at home by Oldham Roughyeds who are being tipped to be the team to beat this coming season in League One.

Speaking after the 24-6 defeat to Town in Sunday’s opener, Haven’s assistant coach Jonty Gorley, who held a similar position at Workington said: “We will learn from the game, it’s part of getting ready for the new season starting.

“Town’s experienced players were the difference, especially Sean Penkywicz. In my opinion he’s the best number nine we will come up against this season.”

Whitehaven have arranged a third warm-up game and will be taking on Newcastle Thunder at the Recreation Ground on February 10.

That’s a week before the season proper is due to start with a home game against Keighley Cougars, but that fixture is looking more doubtful by the day.

A bid to buy the club from a consortium headed by former chairman Mike O’Neill has been rejected and there is growing concern that the club will be unable to fulfil their fixtures.

The Cougars are is in a mess and the former owners Austria Holdings appear to have seen legal control pass to a number of individual, none of whom appear to have any connection with the club.