AMONG all of the Barrovians who will be at Craven Park tomorrow for Barrow Raiders' Betfred Championship clash with Widnes Vikings, at least one of them will be hoping it is the visitors who emerge triumphant.

That is because he plays for them.

Brad Walker is now into his third season playing full-time rugby for the Cheshire side, having made his debut for them in 2017, and is relishing the prospect of taking on the professional team from the area he grew up in.

The 21-year-old is no stranger to the venue, having played there on several occasions for Dowdales School and Askam's youth teams. However, he admits it will be odd lining up against the Raiders tomorrow.

"It's going to be a weird one, but it will be something I'll cherish when I'm playing and it will be a good game," said Walker.

"I've got a few mates who play at Barrow and it will be good to play against them, and I just can't wait to get out there and just see what it's like.

"I played a few finals there for Dowdales School and Askam. It's always good when you're a young lad because they're the grounds you want to be playing at when you grew up around there.

"I won most of them, I think, so it wasn't too bad."

Along with the likes of Brad Singleton, Morgan Knowles and Greg Richards, Walker has left the area to pursue a career in the full-time game and it is one which has yielded rewards for him.

It has not been without its challenges though, with Widnes suffering relegation from Super League last year and, most recently, being on the verge of going out of business before a consortium came to the rescue.

Most players will go through an entire career without suffering either of those, let alone it happening in the space of six months for someone who is still in the early stages of their professional journey.

Walker has embraced those challenges though and tried to turn those experiences into positives, along with learning from team-mates such as ex-NRL players Hep Cahill and Anthony Gelling.

"I learned a lot last year from some of the players I played with and also what happened at the end of the year, with the character of the lads who have come through to play this year," said Walker.

"I think I've learned a lot and it'll be good for us young lads looking forward. We know from the few games we've played in the Championship this year we can do well, so hopefully we can do that and be back up to Super League soon.

"I'm only young and it's just the start of my career, but it's all been good and hopefully I can keep playing well this year, and see what happens next year."

Walker and Widnes head to Barrow in a buoyant mood after beating Featherstone Rovers 44-22 last Sunday in front of a crowd of over 6,000 on an emotional day at the Halton Stadium.

However, the loose forward is primed to face a backlash from the Raiders as they bid to rebound from a 20-8 defeat away to Rochdale Hornets.

Walker's family are set to be in attendance too, although he concedes they might well be faced with a difficult choice of whether to cheer on him or Barrow.

"All my family will be coming along, so it will be a good," said Walker, adding: "They probably will have split loyalties!"