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Saturday, 20 September 2014

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McConville sets festive targets

IN-FORM Barrow AFC winger Sean McConville wants to crown a memorable personal month with victories over Gateshead and Macclesfield Town.

The bottom-of-the-table Bluebirds, whose scheduled game at Alfreton on Saturday was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch, face the Tynesiders at Holker Street on Boxing Day in a huge Blue Square Bet Premier clash, before travelling to Macclesfield on Saturday for an eagerly-anticipated FA Cup second round replay (both kick-off at 3pm).

And for McConville, who has celebrated the birth of his second daughter and scored his first goal for Barrow in recent weeks, two wins would cap a brilliant December.

The 23-year-old father-of-two said: “It had been a long time since I had last scored so it was nice to get one (in Barrow’s 5-1 FA Trophy second round win at lower-league Chesham United two games ago).

“I dedicated that goal to my new daughter, Delilah-Rose, who was born earlier in December. It’s been a good month for me personally and I want to finish it with three points against Gateshead and an FA Cup win so we can play Cardiff City at home in the third round.”

Since joining the Bluebirds in mid-September, the former Accrington Stanley and Stockport County ace has made seven starts and six substitute appearances. But it is in the last two games – against Chesham and the 1-1 FA Cup home draw against Macclesfield – that McConville has really impressed, playing starring roles on the left wing.

He said: “Hopefully I can get an extended run in the side now. I’m confident that if I do, my performances will get better and I’ll score more goals.”

Despite an unbeaten run of seven in cup games this season, the Bluebirds have not won a league match in two-and-a-half months, since a 3-2 home victory over Southport on October 9.

That remains Barrow’s only home league win this season and as a result they sit at the foot of the pile as the 2012/13 campaign nears the halfway stage. The victory over Chesham and the passion-filled performance in almost defeating Macclesfield last Tuesday have, however, provided the players with a timely confidence boost going into a hectic period, when the matches are set to come thick and fast.

McConville said: “Hopefully we have turned a corner. After we lost at home to Hereford (on December 7) everyone was down and confidence was low, but we have done well in the two games that have followed, especially against Macclesfield when we played with a lot of desire and should have won. We now need to take that into our league games.

“It’s a massive game on Boxing Day against Gateshead. I look at the table and it’s not nice to see us at the bottom. But there is not that many points separating us from mid-table (Barrow are nine points off 12th place) so if we can get a run going we can move upwards and that in turn will breed more confidence.

“We have a good team, like we showed against Macclesfield, but we need to start delivering in league games.”

McConville, like most of the Barrow players, did a personal gym session on Saturday, after the match at Alfreton fell victim to the wet weather.

The squad were also due in for training this morning.

“Training and playing over Christmas is part and parcel of being a footballer,” said McConville. “I’ve done it for the last four years and on two occasions I’ve been in training on Christmas Day.

“It’s all about looking after your body, so I won’t be having anything alcoholic to drink on Christmas Day, instead I’ll have a nice time with the family and then come Boxing Day be ready, get my game-head on.”

Gateshead sit 14th in the table and have played just once – a 1-0 FA Trophy second round win at Cambridge United on December 15 – since new manager Anth Smith replaced Ian Bogie.

Wednesday’s game will be the first of three encounters between the two clubs in the space of 18 days, with a league match at the Gateshead International Stadium on New Year’s Day and an FA Trophy third round clash, again in the north east, on January 12 set to follow.

Barrow (from): Hurst, Flynn, Skelton, M Pearson, Hessey, Owen, Harvey, Rutherford, McConville, Baker, Boyes, S Pearson, Anderson, Hunter, Rowe, Almond, Jackson.

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