Bookmakers have made Workington Town a 4/1 shot to win the League One title while rivals up the road Whitehaven are 10/1 for the competition that starts next month.

The Recreation Ground club have four teams ahead of them in the betting, including county neighbours Workington Town but both the Cumbrian clubs will get to grips with the pre-season favourites Oldham Roughyeds very early in the campaign.

Oldham (7/4) start with two home fixtures against Workington and Whitehaven, having already beaten Barrow in Sunday’s first warm-up game.

Newcastle Thunder are probably the surprise choice as 3/1 second favourites, while Doncaster (9/2) complete the top four in the betting.

With no apparent stand-out team in League One this year, and all the top six – Hunslet are sixth at 12/1 - capable of beating anyone on their day, it promises to be a really tight competition.

Haven coach Gary Charlton said: “I think it’s a fair assessment of where we are, because of the fact that we will be a new team in many ways this time round.

“I am looking for us to improve game by game, week to week, until where we want to be on February 17 when he start the season proper.

“Newcastle might be a surprise to most people, being put in as second favourites, but they have signed some good, experienced players this time and will be very competitive. At least we will have a good look at them on the eve of the season when we play them at the Recreation Ground on February 10.”

The give no-hopers, according to the bookies are London Skolars (33/1), Keighley Cougars (40/1), North Wales (50/1), Coventry Bears (66/) and West Wales (100/1).

West Wales were the whipping boys last season but Charlton says they look stronger this time round.

“I think they should be more competitive, which is better for the League, as they have brought in a good few new players, including some from Australia,” said the Haven coach.