Whitehaven are joining the battle to improve the average age of their supporters, looking a few years down the line.

Rugby league, like most professional sports, has an ageing fan base with the younger generation finding other outlets for their exuberance and enjoyment.

Whitehaven are no different, and with attendances generally poor in League One they are looking to get them in young - and keep them interested.

The Recreation Ground club will play only one home friendly in pre-season and that’s against the second favourites for the title, Newcastle Thunder on February 17 (kick-off 3pm).

The club is using this game as a trial for kids being allowed in for free, with a paying adult and there is the prospect of a very good contest, only a week from the official start of the League programme.

A club spokesman said: “We would love to see as many kids as possible down at the ground to show this is a feasible option for the club as we move forward.

“Following on from Sunday’s much improved performance against Championship Barrow, Newcastle are one of the favourites for promotion from Betfred League 1 and the game should be another good spectacle.”

Not enough young blood is coming into rugby league on the terraces, or stands for that matter, but attracting youngsters is easy. Keeping them is the hard part.

Director Matthew Stephenson said: “We are aware that the secret to boosting future attendances is attracting younger people, and keeping them as regular fans.

“We have a few initiatives we are planning at the ground which we hope might help us in that aim.”

For the Newcastle game children under 16 years of age will be admitted free if they are with an adult.