Mark Cooper has demanded major improvement from Barrow AFC when they take on Salford City tonight.

The Bluebirds are quickly back in action at Holker Street following their dismal showing against Mansfield Town.

Manager Cooper delivered a scathing verdict on his side’s defending in the 3-1 home reverse.

They now have the opportunity to put things right against Gary Bowyer’s 10th-placed visitors (Dunes Hotel Stadium, 7.45pm).

“We have got to bounce back and be a lot better,” Cooper said.

Tonight’s rearranged game gives Barrow the opportunity to put further distance between themselves and the League Two danger zone.

They come up against a mid-table Ammies side also seeking to bounce back from a poor weekend.

They were beaten 3-0 at home by Colchester United in what was the Essex strugglers’ first win in eight games.

Barrow could go ten points clear of the bottom two with victory tonight – but will require a much-improved showing after their reverse to ten-man Mansfield.

Cooper described Barrow’s defending in Saturday’s defeat as “horrendous” and questioned players’ desire.

“I’m always honest with players and supporters,” Cooper told the BBC.

“I’m questioning the desire – which I’ve commended all season – of our centre-backs to head the ball.

“If anyone wants to disagree, I’ll have an argument and show them. It’s not acceptable.”

Cooper said certain players needed to raise their standards with the end of the season in mind.

“If I was out of contract id be making sure that I at least got an offer from Barrow,” the Bluebirds boss said.

Cooper has been without defender Joe Grayson in recent weeks while Mark Ellis was not in Saturday’s squad.

Cooper was not drawn on whether he could raid the transfer market to improve his defence before next Monday’s deadline.

“If we do that we’ve got to get better than what we’ve got,” he said.

“There are a couple of centre-halves still in the building that we can use.

“You’ve got to ask some serious questions about certain individuals about whether they want to play.”

If he considers changes in other positions tonight, meanwhile, the likes of Connor Brown, Josh Kay, Jacob Wakeling and Jamie Devitt could come into the equation.

Salford, meanwhile, could hand a second outing to new signing Matt Smith, the former Millwall, Leeds and QPR striker.

Their manager Bowyer admitted their Colchester defeat was a disappointing showing and added: “We’ve got to learn from it and put that right [at Barrow].”