WHITEHAVEN RL is well and truly into the pre-season as they face off in a Cumbrian derby this week. 

The West Coast side will play Barrow Raiders in the 1895 Cup on Sunday, February 4. 

Head coach Jonty Gorley has spoken about his feelings ahead of the game, explaining that whilst he's happy for the team to get involved with the cup, his priority for now is the league itself. 

He said: "It will be good to get our first competitive game under the belt this weekend. I don't know what impact the weather will have, as there's going to be a lot of rain which could affect the pitch. 

"I'm looking forward to getting a local derby down at the Ortus Rec. 

"We've had a good pre-season but it's been the hardest I've known at this level in the ten years I've been involved. 

"Even at Widnes in the friendly, I was quite surprised how well the lads coped with their fitness in that game so, touch wood, I hope the pre-season will pay dividends for their fitness. 

"Once we get on the pitch it could be muddy which may affect the players' legs but I'm happy with how things are going so far."

Mr Gorley appeared disappointed that the Ike Southward Memorial Game against Workington Town had been cancelled recently due to the poor weather conditions. 

However, he explained that the safety of the players, staff and spectators is paramount. 

There is still uncertainty about whether or when the Ike Southward Memorial Game will be rescheduled for later in the year. 

Mr Gorley continued: "I'd say there's quite a lot of significance to the 1895 Cup, only last year Halifax got to play at Wembley in the Cup Final against Batley. 

"I think that it' a good thing to have a go at and it would be good to be able to play at Wembley but my priority is the league. The league is something that I really need to concentrate on this year."