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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Barrow AFC ready for Luton battle

BARROW AFC’s recent drubbing at Luton Town will have no bearing on the clubs’ Holker Street clash tomorrow, says Ashley Hoskin.

50043082B001.jpg Keeper hurst
HIT FOR SIX Above, Dave Bayliss and Ashley Hoskin trudge off the Kenilworth Road pitch after Luton’s 6-1 win

The Bluebirds take on the FA Cup giant-killers in a Conference match – three weeks after suffering a 6-1 hiding against the Hatters (kick-off 3pm).

A lot has happened in both camps since that result, with Barrow winning their last two games and adding striker Danny L Rowe, defender Danny O’Donnell, and now Lee McEvilly, to the ranks.

Luton, meanwhile, have been basking in the glory of a 1-0 FA Cup fourth round triumph at Premier League Norwich, and have also been busy in the transfer window, snapping up one-time AFC skipper Steve McNulty from Fleetwoood. Assistant boss Hoskin believes Barrow are in a much stronger position now following the new arrivals and morale-boosting wins – at Newport in the league and against Gateshead in the FA Trophy.

He said: “We went to Luton and got absolutely mauled, but we’ve got a couple of new faces in there, who hopefully can make a difference to us, and we are playing some good stuff.

“You look at what Luton are – the stadium, the crowds they get, the cup run they are on – and you know it’s going to be tough.

“We went there and got spanked, 6-1, so we know it’s going to be difficult. But we’re at Holker Street and hopefully the fans will get out in big numbers and support us.

“We’ve got some new lads in and I’m a great believer that it’s 11 against 11 at the end of the day.

“We’re at home and it’s up to us to get out on the front foot. We know they are decent and if we allow them to play, they will play.

“We’ve got a game-plan in mind and we’re going to be quite attack-minded and we’re going to go for it.”

The feeling in the Bluebirds camp is that they need to put in a good display after their humiliation at Kenilworth Road, with skipper Mike Pearson saying: “We’ll be looking to get our own back on them.

“They gave us a good hiding down there, so we’ll be looking to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

The big question is who will get the nod in the AFC starting XI.

New signings Rowe and O’Donnell are in contention after being cup-tied for the 3-2 Trophy win over Gateshead.

Defenders Gavin Skelton (achilles) and Sean Hessey (foot) and winger Paul Rutherford (knee) all picked up knocks against the Heed, but should be fit and available.

Hoskin and manager Dave Bayliss need to decide whether to stick with the team who beat Gateshead – or react to the fact that they still conceded two sloppy set-piece goals and make changes.

The other factor to consider is that the likes of Rowe and O’Donnell will not be able to play at Gainsborough in the Trophy quarters on Tuesday.

“Me and Bayles have been quite straightforward with the lads and said if you have got a starting shirt and you do the business then you keep the shirt,” said Hoskin.

“We won the game against Gateshead – but let’s not beat around the bush, the two goals we conceded were very similar to a lot of goals we’ve conceded so the problems were still there. We switched off at two set-pieces.

“So yes, the 11 who played, kept going and fought hard and got a great result, but the two goals we conceded were very similar to ones we have conceded in the past.

“So there is competition for places there and it’s up to me and Dave to sit down and decide which way we are going to go.

“If we do make changes, the lads who drop out are going to be disappointed but then they will have to get their heads up because we will have to go with the same lads for the quarter-final at Gainsborough.”

Barrow from: Hurst, S Pearson, Flynn, Skelton, M Pearson, Hessey, O’Donnell, Rutherford, Owen, Baker, Hunter, Harvey, D Rowe, McConville, Boyes, D L Rowe.

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