Barrow Raiders recruit 20th squad member for 2024 with return of powerhouse from Cumbrian rivals

Ben Olawumi
Craven Park, Barrow Raiders

Craven Park, the home of Barrow Raiders - Alamy

Barrow Raiders have announced the return of prop Tom Walker from fellow Cumbrian Championship outfit Whitehaven, penning a two-year deal.

The forward – who will turn 29 on Christmas Day – becomes the Raiders’ 20th confirmed squad member for 2024 and their eighth recruit of this off-season after a 2023 which saw them narrowly escape the drop to League 1.

Super League trio Matty Costello James Greenwood and Ramon Silva have already been brought in by head coach Paul Crarey alongside Max Clarke and Brad Walker from Bradford Bulls and Keighley Cougars respectively.

Tom Wilkinson and Adam Jackson are the other two new recruits, snapped up from local amateur sides Ulverston and Barrow Island.

Newest addition Tom Walker has spent the last four seasons with Whitehaven, making 55 appearances overall, though didn’t feature from June onwards this year.

Workington Town were the forward’s only other club to date, racking up 50 appearances for them at the start of his career.

He now returns to Craven Park having already donned a Barrow shirt 73 times between 2017 and 2019, being a part of the side that won promotion back to the Championship in his first year at the club.

Barrow Raiders recruit 20th squad member for 2024 with return of powerhouse Tom Walker from Cumbrian rivals Whitehaven

The 28-year-old was also coached by Raiders boss Crarey when he was selected for the Cumbria side which took on Jamaica in a World Cup warm-up match last autumn.

Barrow confirmed his return on their website this morning, with Walker saying: “I’m really excited, and it’s a massive relief. It’s no secret that I’ve done it tough over the last six months for one reason or another, but I know Cresta (Crarey) has a lot of faith in me.

“With the way I played last season, I think I can bring a lot to the team and really help us challenge the best sides in this division.

“I’ve been at the club before, so I know how Cresta likes to play and what he expects from his squad. I think I’ve matured a lot over recent seasons and I’m a different player now, so I want to play my part in bringing success to this team in 2024 and beyond.

“There’s a lot of competition in the forward pack, which is good, because it’ll help bring the best out of my game. There’s some quality in this squad, and I hope that I can add to that.

Meanwhile, Crarey added: “Everyone at the Raiders is delighted with the signing of Tom. He has obviously played at Barrow before, and when he told us he was available, we had no hesitation in trying to secure his services.

“Tom was magnificent in his first spell with us, and we are delighted he has joined up with us again. He is a model professional and will undoubtedly add to our firepower up front, as well as being an absolute giant who gives his all defensively.”

READ NEXT: Every one of the Championship and League 1 kits for 2024 released so far