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Monday, 01 September 2014

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Barrow AFC manager praises new boy

MANAGER Dave Bayliss is confident Alex Meechan’s huge personality and versatility will significantly boost Barrow AFC’s promotion bid next season.

The 33-year-old attacker will join the Bluebirds in a player-coaching role following his release from their Conference North rivals Telford United.

While the much-travelled Meechan also briefly served as The Bucks’s assistant boss Bayliss has not totally ruled out the return of his number two from last season, Ashley Hoskin. And in confirming Meechan’s pending arrival Bayliss is backing the striker to sprinkle his positive vibes all over the club – in the same fashion as former AFC midfielder Robin Hulbert.

“Alex is going to come in and first of all he’s going to be a player and he’ll help out on the coaching side as well,” explained Bayliss.

“But that does not totally rule out Ash. We just need to get something sorted with Alex so he knows his plan for next year. He’s very good at this level of football. He’s 33, but if you put him in a fitness test with any 21-year-old, he’ll beat them.

“I did pre-season with him when I was at Luton (while Meechan was on trial with The Hatters almost a decade ago) and he’s an absolute fitness fanatic.

“He’s also the type of lad we missed in the dressing room last year. Let’s put it this way, people who know Robin Hulbert will know Meeks as he’s exactly the same type of character.

“He’s a winner, great with the players and he’s fantastic with the supporters.

“He’s also got a very good knowledge of this level of football and he’s got a lot of football contacts. He’s got a very good attitude and he’s a very infectious character.

“He’s always happy so he’s a bit like that Robin Hulbert-type of player that we had a few years ago in that he’ll get the dressing room buzzing.”

At this early stage, Meechan’s coaching role has yet to be defined although his input on the training ground will be correlated with his involvement on the pitch.

But with Barrow switching to a part-time two-nights-a-week training regime next season Bayliss has vowed to be more ‘hands-on’ in the coaching department following the club’s recent relegation misery.

And in lauding Meechan’s versatility, he added: “Alex is not just a striker, he can play wide left or right.

“That’s important because we’ll have a youngish and smallish squad, so he’ll help us by being a bit versatile in terms of playing in different positions.

“He’ll coach and I’m going to do a lot of it next season. I didn’t do as much coaching as I should have last season for one reason or another. But I’m going to be a lot more hands-on this year.

“If it’s going to go wrong, it’s going to be my fault. But we’ll be better next year and I’m looking forward to it.”

Meanwhile, Bayliss could make a decision over whether to bring Hoskin back into the fold next month.

“His role has never been ruled out,” said Bayliss.

“First and foremost, we had to get the finances straight and the main priority was to get a playing squad together – that’s the most important thing. Ash knows that and we spoke to Ash and told him that. We’ve got to sort out the finances and see what we’ve got left in the kitty to see if we can bring anyone else in, and bring Ash back in.

“We’d obviously love to have him back, but finances dictate things and I’ve told him that.

“We looked at next season and we’re not going to be in training every single day. So Alex will come in and he will probably take the warm-ups and we’ll have a chat about things.

“But it’s not going to clash if Ash does come back.”

Barrow’s pre-season schedule will include a home clash with Welsh Premier outfit Airbus UK on Saturday, August 3, kick-off 3pm.

Have your say

“If it’s going to go wrong, it’s going to be my fault.''....sounds great already....cant wait

Posted by jimothy cricket on 18 May 2013 at 05:53

I too liked Ash a lot,and was sorry he had to go,but if DB and Alex Meecham can do the job, wouldn't the cash be better spent on getting more strength on a better player? Still with you DB and Alex Meecham,we WILL keep the faith,won't we Guys n Gals??? C'mon BARROW.

Posted by captain bluebirdseye on 17 May 2013 at 22:44

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