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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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New Barrow Raiders prop sees great potential in club

RAIDERS prop Matt Haggarty has borrowed one of coach Darren Holt’s favourite phrases in describing the decision to join Barrow as a ‘no-brainer’.

The 21-year-old forward was one of the first new faces to sign on at Craven Park with Haven team-mate Max Wiper in September.

Since then, the former Salford Academy player has been joined by a host of former club-mates from the City Reds, as well as several other new recruits to add to an established squad, and he feels he is part of a side with great potential.

“I felt the club is moving in the right direction,” he said of his decision to move down the coast from the Recreation Ground. “I knew the lads who were about to sign and I just felt it was a club heading to the right place. When I knew Holty was interested in me, it was a no-brainer to come and play for him.

“What I’ve seen already, I think I’ve definitely made the right decision.”

Haggarty is one of four former City Reds Academy players to have joined Raiders in the close-season.

Wiper signed his contract at the same time, while Adam Clay followed soon after and fellow prop Jack Spencer became the latest to join the ranks last week. Those four each bring their own attributes to a Barrow side which gained promotion from Championship One last season, with Kurt Haggerty (Haggarty is knee to point out the difference in spelling between their names when people ask if they are related) Dean McGilvray, Danny Jones, Brad Brennan and Sean Casey also added to the ranks.

The ex-Haven man, who started training with the squad last week, feels the team assembled by Holt and the Barrow board is capable of big things next season.

He added: “The squad that we have got together, the lads who have re-signed and the lads who have signed on this year, is hopefully capable of being in the Championship play-offs.

“We have signed some good lads – not just for ability either, they are good lads in general. They seem good to be around and hopefully we can build a good team and keep on building.

“I don’t see us as scrapping around at the bottom of the table.

“It will be difficult to go to the likes of Halifax and Featherstone and come away with a win, but the teams around us – the other Cumbrian teams and the likes of Hunslet and Dewsbury, with full respect to them, and Swinton – I feel like we can turn them over no problem.”

The Leigh-based man, who is travelling to training with Clay, Spencer and James Dandy, hopes he can play a big part in his new team’s upcoming campaign.

Haggarty says he has been working hard before pre-season started to ensure he is up to the task and promised the supporters a physical, intense presence on the field.

“Hopefully I can show the fans a really high work-rate and I can try and lead from the front,” he said.

“I believe I’ve got what it takes to step up to the Championship. Obviously, I was around good players last year in the likes of Lee Doran, Richard Varkulis and I came across Howard Hill, so I picked a lot of experience up from those guys and took in as much as I could.

“Hopefully I can bring that to Barrow and do the same here, learn off the lads around me, like Liam Harrison, and really hold my own. I’ve not come to just sit and watch, I’ve come to play.”

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