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Monday, 01 September 2014

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Barrow Raiders sign ex-Super League full-back

BARROW Raiders have lifted their Grand Final gloom in an instant by landing Leigh’s high-quality full-back Dean McGilvray.

Dean McGilvray
New Barrow Raiders signing Dean McGilvray

The club have moved quickly to plug the gap left by the departing Andy Ballard – who played his last game for the club in Sunday’s 16-13 defeat to Doncaster – with McGilvray a like-for-like replacement in the number one shirt.

The 24-year-old has spent much of this season on the sidelines with injury, but started his career at St Helens and has pedigree with Super League Salford City Reds.

Club sources confirmed the move last night and Raiders boss Darren Holt is confident McGilvray can make an impact for his side in the Championship next season.

“With Andy leaving – and he has been superb for us, but for a number of different reasons he has gone closer to home – I feel like we need to strengthen again,” said the Barrow boss, who joined his players in the traditional ‘Mad Monday’ outing yesterday to mark the end of the current season.

“It was about three months ago that Dean came on the radar. He’s had an injury and he hasn’t been playing much this year, but I have played against Dean and I have watched him play for many years for some good clubs and he is obviously someone I think will bring something to the team.

“Last season, he played 29 times, but this year he has had a bit of an injury and it has taken a little bit longer to clear up than it should have done.

“He came back towards the latter end of the season and he scored in one of the play-offs games I think for Leigh, and he has a lot of class.

“I like the way he plays. He is a lot more abrasive, he has pace to burn and he plays with a big heart. In the full-back position going into the Championship, I think he will be a big benefit and bonus for us.”

McGilvary is the fourth new face to join the Raiders ranks for next season and the 16th signing in total.

Fellow Leigh player Adam Clay – who also spent time at Salford with McGilvray – and Whitehaven duo Max Wiper and Matthew Haggerty – themselves former City Reds Academy players – have also signed on at Craven Park, along with 11 of the current squad.

Holt stressed the importance of recruiting well for life in a higher league, but also insisted the club would not overspend just to survive.

He added: “There is no doubt that the first thing people will be saying after Sunday’s result is that we need to strengthen going up into the Championship and there is no getting round that.

“Of course we are going to do that and every team who goes up will be same and so will every team already up there.

“We have got to be careful and what the club will not do and I am completely on board with this, is to over-stretch ourselves. We have been down that road before.

“The players who we do bring in will be carefully selected and I hope the players we bring in can help bring something different to us.”

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