Cougars boss Paul March will bring back his big guns at Whitehaven tonight after making wholesale changes for last Thursday’s Challenge Cup exit at Widnes.

March opted to rest 11 players for his side's quarter-final 56-6 defeat with one eye on the rearranged Championship trip to Cumbria in mind.

The player-coach watched the Widnes game on Sky at a nearby pub as he serves a two-month stadium ban for abusing a match official at Leigh on March 9.

But a number of players are poised to return this evening as Cougars step up their bid to avoid relegation to the third tier.

March said: “I've no regrets about my team selection for Thursday.

“If you start regretting it, you question your own judgement.

“Obviously the game up at Whitehaven is the most important thing for us and I'm hoping when we go up there it will prove the correct decision.

“We left a lot of players out at Widnes but saying that there were a lot of lads who have put their hands up and put themselves in contention for Whitehaven.

“Ben Stead went well and I thought Daley Williams tried his heart out – he ran his blood to water – and Scott Law played his first game back after injury. He’s definitely put himself in contention.”

Centre Daley Williams scored Cougars’ solitary try at Widnes during the visitors' purple patch early in the second half to provide even more cheer for March.

“I thought we battled well but obviously Kev Brown made a massive difference to them,” March added.

“If he'd have stayed on, the score could have gone away from us but they rested him, just like I've rested some of mine.

“There were also four players I didn’t have available against Widnes because of work commitments and I won’t have them for Tuesday either.

“There were some players who were eighty per cent fit but hopefully we can go to Whitehaven and do what we did up there last year. We have to go there and win.”

March, meanwhile, has been denied permission by the RFL to play for Hemel Stags on loan and he added: “I put the loan request in and it’s been denied so it’s just like someone getting sent to jail and doing three years of their five-year sentence – then saying ‘you’ve got another five years to do’.”