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Club News

In Opposition: Barrow AFC

5 June 2017

Our summer series on our National League opponents for 2017/18 continues as we make the journey to Cumbria.

Formed: 1901
The Bluebirds

Who’s in charge?
Paul Cox has been in charge at Barrow since November 2015 and has helped turn them in to play-off contenders in the National League during his time at the helm.

A defender with Notts County, Kettering Town and Halifax Town during his playing days, Cox got his first taste of management when he stepped up from his role as assistant to take the top job at Eastwood Town in October 2006.

Success in the league and the cup soon drew attention and he was announced as the new boss at Mansfield Town in May 2011 where he went on to spend the next three years.

He spent a short stint in charge of financially-troubled Torquay United in 2015 before re-emerging with Barrow and beginning a project to return them to the EFL for the first time since the 1970s.

How did they get on last season?
Barrow finished just outside the play-off positions in the National League last term having been in the hunt for automatic promotion at the turn of the year after an excellent first half of the season.

The Cumbrians tasted defeat just three times in their opening 24 league outings and were on the shirt tails of Lincoln City and Forest Green at the top of the table going in to 2017.

However, they struggled for the same level of consistency during the second half of the campaign and despite an improved run during March they slipped down to finish 7th in the table.

When did we last meet?
You have to go back to April 1972 for the last time the two sides met in competitive action, Barrow running out 2-0 winners at Holker Street to avenge their 4-3 defeat at The Vic the previous September.

In total, we played each other 85 times down the years and Pools have the slight edge historically having enjoyed 34 victories in comparison to Barrow’s 32.

Where do they play?
Barrow have been playing their home games at Holker Street since 1909 and the ground currently has a capacity of just over 5,000.

When do we play them?
The National League fixtures are due to be released on around 5th July.

Inside View
Mark Carruthers of gives us his assessment of Barrow…

“It’s difficult to know how to assess Barrow’s 2016/17 season.

“For a club that went on a twenty-six game unbeaten run, you could argue that finishing seven points and two places outside of the play-off spots could be a bit underwhelming.

“However, for me, it is the continuation of a club slowly building towards realistically challenging at the top end of the National League on a regular basis.

“They have a fiercely loyal and vocal fan base, an ambitious American-based owner and one of the top managers in the National League in Paul Cox.

“Cox knows how to get the best out of his players and has produced a highly-effective side at Barrow, qualities that have attracted interest and approaches from elsewhere.

“A strong, powerful outfit, Barrow are capable of beating anyone on their day, as was proven with their highly-impressive 3-0 home win over high-flying Lincoln City in January.

“The likes of Byron Harrison and Richard Bennett have proven to be shrewd additions, whilst Cox has shown he isn’t afraid to look lower down the pyramid to strengthen his squad.

“His signing of Northwich Victoria’s Jordan Williams has proved to be a wise move, with the twenty-four-year-old attracting interest from a whole host of Football League clubs.  A move away from Holker Street looks to be rapidly approaching.

“His loss would be a blow, but the Bluebirds will still be a force next season and I would expect them to be there or thereabouts when it comes to the race for the play-off places.”

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