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Monday, 01 September 2014

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Barrow Raiders bid to lure Nixon back

BARROW Raiders have made a bid to lure scoring machine James Nixon out of retirement.

The flying winger shocked supporters when he quit Craven Park eight months ago, cutting short a spectacular professional career.

At the time the club cited new work and family commitments for his decision.

But Nixon returned to the amateur game with Dalton last month – playing under former Raiders boss Paul Crarey – and new Barrow coach Anthony Murray wants him back in the professional fold.

“We’re in talks with Nixon,” confirmed Murray, who has already signed South Wales Scorpions winger Dalton Grant this week to bolster his back division.

“He scored more than 30 tries outside Liam Harrison one season, so he can obviously score tries and that’s a major attribute a winger needs.

“He’s definitely one who I will be keen to get back on board and we’ll see how he goes.”

Nixon made 175 appearances for Barrow between 2004 and 2012, scoring 137 tries – a total which ranks him seventh in the club’s all-time list.

In 2008, he became the first Barrow player since 1960s hero Bill Burgess to score more than 30 tries in a season.

But injuries plagued him in recent years.

His 2010 campaign – coming just months after he helped Raiders win the Championship Grand Final – came to a halt on opening night when he broke his arm at Leigh.

The next year, a broken leg again hampered his progress, though he did score 11 tries in 23 appearances in 2012.

His retirement in February this year came after he decided to take a break from the game a month earlier. Numerous suggestions swirled around the club, with the belief he was frustrated at becoming a fringe figure in matches and training.

Sources close to the player confirmed this to be the case, but the man himself – renowned for keeping his own counsel and never speaking out publicly – remained silent.

A new job and the imminent arrival of a third child with wife Joanne were off-field factors which played a role.

The only statement from Craven Park came from chairman David Sharpe, who said at the time: “The understanding is that he has retired from the game with family commitments etc

“At this moment in time, there is no prospect of a return for him.”

That situation has now changed.

Nixon has featured for amateur outfit Dalton in North West Counties League in recent weeks, scoring in their victory over Eccleston Vikings last weekend. At only 28, he still has his electric pace and eye for the try-line, as well as a number of years ahead of him in the game.

Murray is keen to bring him in and is also talking to several other potential wide men to complement Grant – himself a renowned scorer from his time with South Wales – and replace Adam Clay.

The coach added: “Adam Clay was struggling with work, to get away on time to make the trip up.

“That’s why I’ve moved for Dalton Grant and Nixon and we’re in talks with two other wingers as well.

“One of these wingers has been in Australia for two years and one of them would be coming away from under-20s in Super League.”

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