Managers Reaction: Barrow 1-0 Sutton

Ian Evatt’s reaction to our win over Sutton!

Bluebirds Boss Ian Evatt said that a 1-0 win over Sutton United on Saturday was the best win of his management career so far. A gritty performance saw determination alone get the Bluebirds over the line to earn three massive points going into a two week break.

“For me that’s the best win I’ve had since I’ve been a manager for a number of reasons. Firstly, credit to Sutton because they were excellent on the day and I thought they looked a very good side. I’ve just said to their manager that if they keep playing like that then they will have nothing to worry about. Sometimes you go on bad runs, don’t get the luck you deserve and they probably didn’t get the luck they deserved today.

Having said that, in football sometimes you make your own luck. We’ve traveled to Torquay and had a man sent off unjustly and played on a boggy pitch, we’ve then had to travel to Dagenham on Tuesday and grind that out picking more injuries, then today with even more injuries we’ve found a way to win. We’ve had Josh Granite stay on with a dislocated shoulder and broken collar bone, we’ve got Jason Taylor who was knocked more or less unconscious but these lads just want to fight and win at any costs. We’ve found a way to win and sometimes good teams have to win in different ways. Boy can my lads play, but they can fight as well like they have done today and I’m proud of every single one of them.

They deserve a bit of a break now, to get themselves together and hopefully we can get a few bodies back but it’s a fantastic win.”

The Bluebirds were down to ten men late on with Jason Taylor going off injured after making all three of our substitutions. Josh Granite then became the latest casualty with a serious injury, though the skipper played on through the final ten minutes to help his side over the line, something which amazed and impressed the Gaffer.

“We wanted him to come off so he didn’t do anymore damage but you wouldn’t drag him off that pitch. They want to win that much and to see him running around with a dislocated shoulder it’s amazing. I’m proud of him and I’m proud of every single one of them, their attitude and desire is top class and if ever there was a team to really stand for what Barrow stands for as a town, then that’s it.

They all deserve a bit of a break now, to get themselves together and hopefully we can get a few bodies back but it’s a fantastic win.”

A bumper crowd of 1827 packed into the Progression Solicitors Stadium and created a superb atmosphere late on to get the lads over the line, something which the manager says didn’t go unnoticed by either himself, his staff or his players.

“The support was magnificent , to have 1800 in here is a fantastic effort and I hope they are going home as proud as I am – I’m struggling for words I’m so amazed by what I’ve seen today.”

The Bluebirds now have a two weeks break before we face Notts County at Meadow Lane and it couldn’t come at a better time, giving the squad a chance to recover after a brutal week of travelling and tough games, something the Gaffer is well aware of.

“We need to regroup, we need to have a look at the injuries. Obviously Jason Taylor is concussion protocol so he should be okay within the two weeks, Josh Granite will obviously be out for a while and Sam Hirds potentially going to be okay for Notts County. We’re still doing some research on Dior (Angus) and Brad (Barry) and all we can do is give the players rest, recuperation and get them back together for a big Christmas push. That’s a huge win today for a number of reasons but we’ve given ourselves a great opportunity now to push on in this league which is what we all want.”

The three points on Saturday came about from a different type of performance from Barrow, one with sheer determination and guts getting them over the line, something which Evatt is sure other teams in the league will take note of.

“They should be taking notice because we’re a good team. We’ve shown we can win in different ways and the teams who are top of divisions do that. We did it to an extent at Dagenham, but today was the first time when everything was against us and the opposition were playing really well that we’ve managed to win a game. That’s what makes it the best game of my career so far, I’m all for fancy, attractive, attacking football, but sometimes you just need to roll your sleeves up and the boys have done that today.”

When asked who he thought the Bluebirds man of the match was, Evatt had a simple answer – all of them!

“All of them, as I said quality wise it probably wasn’t there for us today but the back three defended their back line with their lives, Joel Dixon came and helped them when he could and everyone just worked their socks off. The GPS stats are off the charts, at Torquay and Dagenham as well, the way they are running and working for each other, pressing the ball over the pitch. To keep the ball and have possession like we do, you have to work even harder when you’re not in possession and that is what makes today and the game at Dagenham extra special, with what they’ve had to go through adversity wise.”

After seeing his side climb to just two points off the top of the table, the manager couldn’t be more proud of his side and he is adamant that there is even more to come.

“I’m biased obviously, I’m Barrow’s manager, and I might be proven wrong, but I think I have the best team in the league and I firmly believe that. The players believe that, I think the town of Barrow and supporters are starting to believe that. That’s what I’ve wanted all along is to change peoples mindsets, to make people believe and achieve something. I don’t care about budgets, I don’t care about size of club, none of that matters. What matters is what we do on the pitch and how we back that up with the club, the board, the owners and the supporters. I’ve said many times that a quote of mine is a perfect storm. I can see it brewing, there’s a long way to go but we’re on our way.”

Evatt went on to thank Bluebirds supporter Margaret Cooksey who paid a visit to him before the game after travelling 1400 miles supporting the Bluebirds this week despite being in her mid-eighties!

“I’ve got to tell a short story quickly, an elderly lady called Margaret, who sits behind me in the stadium and you probably know who she is, she is in her mid-eighties. She knocked on my door before the game and said she had been to Torquay and Dagenham which first and foremost I have to say thanks for, to travel around the country to support your team at that age is something special. But she then took £20 out of her purse and gave me it, saying to get the players something nice to treat them because I’m so grateful of what they are doing on the pitch.

That really touched home to me and the players and that one is for Margaret today, the way we have worked and ran with blood, sweat and tears. Fans like her make the players want to perform like that and I’m so proud of the whole football club at the minute, long may it continue.”

You can also listen to the full interview with Adam Johnson of BBC Radio Cumbria here: