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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Barrow Raiders swoop for Barrow Island flier Brannon

RAIDERS have swooped for Barrow Island flier Tom Brannon.

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FIGHTING CHANCE: Barrow Raiders new signing Tom Brannon during a training session at Barrow Amateur Boxing Club last week BILL WATKINSON REF: 50042404B017

The outstanding young winger has inked a deal with the Craven Park club and looks ideally equipped to make the step-up to the professional ranks.

Coach Darren Holt is looking forward to working with the 19-year-old prospect as he works on formulating his squad for the fast-approaching 2013 pre-season campaign.

Holt spotted Brannon’s potential a few years back and invited him to play for Furness rugby union club and he has charted his progress since at Barrow Island, while under the stewardship of Dean Marwood.

Holt said of the one-time Warrington Wolves Academy player: “When Dean came back on board we sat down and had a chat about local lads who we think could make the step-up and Tom was one at the top of the list.

“We had a chat with Tom to see if he was interested and he seemed very keen to come down with us and so it panned out.

“He is an out-and-out winger. He can motor, I think he will be up there with James Nixon (Raiders winger).

“He’s got a lot of heart, he is a very brave player and hopefully coming into the environment we’ve got, it will bring him on.

“We’ve given Tom the opportunity and it’s down to him if he takes it and how it goes.

“He is a young lad and it will be a big step-up going into the Championship, there’s no getting round that.”

Brannon has turned out for Furness RU in the Cumbria League this term, and has also been training with the Raiders for a couple of weeks, and took part in a fitness session at Barrow Amateur Boxing Club, under the watchful eye of Brook Street head coach Jeff Moses.

Added Holt: “He’s a talent, he’s got a lot to learn, but myself, Dean and Akky (assistant Phil Atkinson) have seen something. We think we can improve his game, he’s certainly got all the raw materials to make it as a player, it is up to us now to try and help him develop.

“Knowing Tom’s attitude, I think he will settle in quite well, hopefully we will see some results quite soon from him.”

Raiders Director of Rugby Andy Gaffney added: “This signing sends out a clear message that the club are determined to continue with their policy of recruiting the most talented of the area’s young players.

“We have been watching Tom for some time and have been impressed by him every time we have seen him play.

“Tom is the latest in a long line of local juniors to join the Craven Park set-up and it is fair to say that we are still watching a number of others.

“Tom has all the necessary skills to make the grade in the modern game, as you would expect of a player who has been developed through the Barrow Island system.”

Barrow Island stalwart John Jefferson said of Brannon: “He’s a good talent. He’s all right, a good strong player. He played with us as a kid and played with our first team last year.”

The Raiders players are heading to Furness General Hospital children’s ward tomorrow morning to hand out presents.

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