Barrow Raiders have today made their second signing ahead of the 2020 season, with former Whitehaven prop forward Carl Forster joining on a one-year contract.

Although the Raiders had recently brought in youngster Connor Terrill, they needed to boost their front-row options after the departures of Alec Susino, Tom Walker and Glenn Riley, the latter two to Haven to link-up with Gary Charlton’s team.

Forster went out on a high with at the Recreation Ground, as he helped Whitehaven win promotion to the Betfred Championship and put a difficult spell as Rochdale Hornets coach behind him. Forster departed Spotland after just one win in 10 games – which came against Barrow – and will be coming up against them next year as the Hornets were relegated to League One alongside the Raiders.

The 27-year-old cannot wait to get started at Craven Park and said: “I’m excited.

“As well as needing to be closer to home – I’ve probably taken off about six or seven hours’ travelling a week by going from Whitehaven to Barrow – I’m really looking forward to a new challenge.

“It’s a fresh start for me and, obviously, I’m looking forward to working under Cresta [Raiders head coach Paul Crarey], as I’ve always had a lot of respect for him. I’ve coached up against him and played up against him, so I’m just looking forward to getting going with the lads. Obviously, no-one looks forward to pre-season, but it will all be worthwhile when we get going next season.”

Forster began his career at hometown club St Helens, from where he was loaned out to Swinton, Rochdale, London Broncos and had two spells at Whitehaven before moving to Salford in 2015.

After two years at the AJ Bell Stadium, he went back to Haven for a third time and it was there where he gained his first taste of coaching, which included losing the 2017 League One play-off final against Barrow. He departed the Recreation Ground in 2018 as the club cut costs, which led him to the top job at Rochdale, but after that turned sour, he returned to Haven once again in May. He’ll be looking to win promotion from League One for a second season in a row with his new club when the new campaign gets under way next February.

Raiders rugby director Andy Gaffney said: “Carl is tough as teak, is a leader on the field and, most of all, he is a winner.

“His experience at this level will be invaluable to the squad, as will be the level of professionalism he will bring. I’d had a few phone calls with Carl and met up with him the other day with the chairman [Steve Neale] and he is looking forward to playing for Barrow under Cresta. He is the sort of player that will push us towards our goals next season, as we look to get back into the Championship.”