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Friday, 18 April 2014

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We will not go down - Barrow AFC boss Bayliss

‘WE will not go down’ is the defiant call of Barrow AFC manager Dave Bayliss, whose side find themselves entrenched in a relegation scrap.

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KEEP BATTLING: AFC celebrate Joe Jackson’s late equaliser at Telford

Second from bottom of Blue Square Bet Premier with the season nearing the halfway stage, only a stoppage-time equaliser by substitute Joe Jackson at AFC Telford United on Tuesday night saved the Bluebirds from falling to the foot of the table.

Some fans even called for the manager’s head after the 1-1 draw at the New Bucks Head, but a defiant Bayliss hit back calling them “cowards behind keyboards” and volunteering to meet the dissenters face to face to discuss the matter.

Bayliss knows that with just 20 points gained from 20 games played so far, Barrow must start winning more games, especially at home, if they are to stay in non-league’s top flight and avoid a return to the Blue Square Bet North division they escaped four-and-a-half years ago.

In a bid to do so Bayliss, whose side host mid-table Hereford United in front of the Premier Sports TV cameras tomorrow night, plans to strengthen his young squad when the transfer window reopens in January.

“We lost two really big players in the summer in (winger) Jack Mackreth and (striker) Andy Cook and them two alone would have made a massive difference in that team that played (in a 1-1 draw) against Telford,” said the Holker Street boss.

“It’s hard to criticise anyone in our side because they are very young. Come January we know we will have a bit more money to play with.

“I know exactly what I need come January. I’ll go and get that and make sure that we get that. We have worked so hard over the last four to five years not to let us go down, and we won’t go down.

“We proved against one of the best sides in the league in Forest Green in our last league game at home (a 2-2 draw on November 17) what we can do.”

Although only beaten twice in their last 13 matches in all competitions – the Bluebirds are still in both the FA Cup and FA Trophy – Bayliss has not seen his side win a league match in two months, since the 3-2 home victory over Southport on October 9.

That remains Barrow’s only league win at Holker Street this season, with their eight points gained from a possible 30 giving them the worst home record in the division.

“We know we have got to start picking league wins up, but we’ve only lost two games in 13 (in all competitions),” said Bayliss, whose side, like both Braintree below them and third-bottom Nuneaton, are three points, more realistically four given their inferior goal-difference records, adrift from escaping the relegation zone.

“We had a really slow start to the season because we never had a proper squad out and we have now assembled what we think is a decent side,” he said. “Okay, losing Tom Aldred (on-loan centre-half who has returned to parent club Colchester United) didn’t help, obviously, but we are still a young side. “We have a few games to go before the new year and come January we will strengthen. We will make the team better.”

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