Barrow AFC boss Mark Cooper urged his deflated dressing room to stick together to improve their fortunes.

Tuesday's 2-0 defeat to Salford City, coming after last weekend's 3-1 reverse against Mansfield Town, cost the Bluebirds the chance to put serious distance between themselves and rivals in the survival battle.

Scunthorpe's fifth straight defeat to Bristol Rovers kept the second-bottom Iron seven points adrift of Barrow, while rock-bottom Oldham Athletic are winless in two months.

Cooper believes the overall standard of performance from his side on Tuesday was better, and said unity is the right way forward.

“We’re looking over our shoulder at the sides below us, of course,” admitted the manager.

“It’s seven points, probably eight with our goal difference, so we’ve given ourselves a bit of a gap.

"I’ve just said to the players we’ve got to stay together. Of course they’re going to be lower on confidence because of the results.

“I’ve told them in the dressing room that it’s not great at the minute. They’ve given everything and got nothing.

“We’ll play worse than that and get a result. We have to keep level-headed and focused.”

Cooper had been scathing in his assessment of his side’s defensive desire after losing at home to ten-man Mansfield on Saturday.

He saw improvement in that department against Salford but was left frustrated with their lack of cutting edge in front of goal.

Ash Hunter's free-kick and a Remeao Hutton own-goal saw the big-spending visitors rpevail.

“I don’t think there was a lot in the game,” reflected the Barrow boss.

“It was a tight game and I never really felt as though we were in trouble. We never really looked like we were going to create a good chance to score. For me we gave everything we’ve got, but there was a lack of quality in the final third.

“We lacked that cohesion and quality in the final third to open Salford up.

“Our best bit of quality in the game was probably Hutts’ finish [for the own goal].

“We competed well. I asked for a competitive performance, which we gave.

“We were well in the game. The first goal was always going to be vital.”

Hunter, who hadn’t scored since netting the winner when the two sides met in this same fixture last season, pounced on a loose pass to put Salford ahead.

Gary Bowyer’s side got a late second when Barrow pushed for a late leveller.

“When the game’s that tight you need to focus on every little detail because it can hurt you,” added Cooper.

“For the first goal the lead up to the free kick was sloppy. It’s a poor ball, a poor back pass. The second goal is us pushing bodies forward to try and get something out of the game.

"We defended well as a whole, but we need to have more of a threat in front of goal. When we get into the last third we’ve got to produce a bit more.

"The fans were great, the biggest of the season, but we have to give them something to shout about.”