A fan preview brought to you by Vanarama!
League sponsors Vanarama have been getting the fans’ perspective ahead of the new season – which kicks off this Saturday.
Ahead of our opening day trip to Wrexham, they spoke to Barrow fan Taylor Nelson to hear his opinions on what is to come this term.
The summer is nearly over and football is almost back – what are you looking forward to most?
There’s been a lot of work both on and off the pitch, with our chairman Paul Hornby really investing into the ground and looking to freshen the place up. Volunteers have worked hard over the off-season to get things done. Meanwhile, Ian Evatt is carefully preparing his squad for the upcoming season with players who fit into his playing-style, which won a lot of plaudits last season. The entertainment factor of our football will certainly be one thing to look forward to, as well as witnessing a much-improved Holker Street.
It was Ian Evatt’s first season in management last year. What is your overall assessment on his first season at the helm?
Ian had a fantastic debut year in management, something all Barrow fans will agree on, I’m sure. He completely rejuvenated the club. We went from strong relegation candidates when he first arrived to a side who finished in the top half, which in itself is a great reflection on the work he has done. He has learnt quickly.
What sort of an impact will the additions of Dior Angus, Morgan Penfold and Scott Quigley have on your attacking prowess?
We lacked an out-and-out finisher last season, especially once Tyler Smith returned to Sheffield United around Christmas time. The signing of Scott Quigley is a statement of intent, given he has signed a three-year deal. Angus returning is another positive.
What business the club have done has impressed you the most?
Definitely tying Ian Evatt down to a new deal. He has a big future in management, and I think we’re really going to go places under him. He isn’t content with a top-half finish from last season and wants improvement, which is a good attitude to have.
What will be different this season?
I think we’ll have more going for us going forward. The signings made look promising and seem to be an improvement on what we had last season. We have recruited early, so our squad has a good shape to it already. Depth is very important at this level and we seem to have this in key areas.
If you could earmark one player to be your standout performer, who would it be?
Lewis Hardcastle. I think signing him on a permanent at the end of last season was a real coup. He has the ability to play in the Football League, but we’ll happily profit from this signing. He has a real drive about his game and he’s very tenacious in the work he puts in. He’s not afraid to have a go from range and I suspect you’ll witness a couple of great goals from him come the end of the season!
What away days are you most excited for?
Admittedly, one of my favourites grounds is Maidenhead’s York Road, so I’m looking forward to going there again. The Proact is another nice ground we visited last season. There are some exciting new grounds to go like Notts County’s Meadow Lane and Stockport’s Edgeley Park.
What is one game you are desperate to see Barrow win?
I would love to get the season underway with a victory on the opening day against Wrexham. That would be perfect. Start as we mean to go on and set the tone for the season.
Which player from another team makes you wish he played for you?
Perhaps a surprising choice, but I would have to say someone like Matty Brown from FC Halifax Town. Their defensive record was good last season, despite their overall finish and he popped up a few times last season against us – in particular in the away fixture, as he scored. He’s a big physical presence, which I would happily welcome into our backline.
Who is your dark horse this time around?
Bromley. I have absolutely no doubt that they’ll be a side to watch this season with the signings they’ve made. I have been really surprised by the recruitment; it’s been superb. Dover are another one for me. Andy Hessenthaler’s record since arriving has been fantastic and he seemed to transform their fortunes.
Finally, the key question – where do you predict your team will finish next season?
Tough one! A lot of teams have improved and whilst we have too, I think another top-half finish would be excellent.
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