ANDY Gaffney believes Jake Carter has the potential to form part of an exciting long-term half-back partnership for Barrow Raiders after the 19-year-old signed a three-year contract with the club.

Stand-off Carter is a graduate of the Furness Raiders under-19s set up, having helped guide the team to the 2018 Association of Colleges National Cup final, and has been playing open-age rugby for Barrow Island in National Conference League Division Three too.

He follows in the footsteps of father Darren, who enjoyed two spells at Craven Park in the 1990s, and becomes the second player to progress from the Furness set-up to the professional ranks after fellow half-back Ryan Johnston.

And Raiders rugby director Gaffney has high hopes Carter can make the same sort of impression Johnston has.

“They could be the partnership for the next 10 years,” said Gaffney. “They’re both good enough do that, moving forward with the club.

“It’s very much a learning curve now for Jake. He’s got Jamie Dallimore and Lewis Charnock to learn off, so he should be fine.

“He’s played for Barrow Island and Furness Raiders, so he’s come through his local amateur club, played for our academy and now signed his first professional contract.

“It just shows there is a pathway and hopefully that will encourage more youngsters to start playing, knowing there is a pathway through to the professional ranks.”

Signing his first professional contract caps what has already been a impressive year for Carter, who will be part of the England Colleges side - along with Jake Stockdale and Tyler Lancaster - taking on the Australian Schoolboys next month.

His signing further strengthens the contingent of local players in the Barrow senior squad and Gaffney hopes it offers encouragement to the area’s youngsters.

“The amount of local players we have in the squad is absolutely brilliant and the more local talent we can tap into, the better,” said Gaffney.

“If they’re good enough, they’ve got the academy to go to before they sign, and it’s good for the town, the amateur scene and everything else.

“If young kids see someone like that go through the ranks, hopefully it will encourage them to join their local amateur clubs and play for them.”

Meanwhile, Furness are due to return to action at home against New College Pontefract today.

David Cairns’ side are aiming to bounce back after a 34-10 defeat away to Halifax Elite Academy last Wednesday.