Barrow AFC boss Mark Cooper insists the Bluebirds haven’t broken the bank to do the transfer deals he described as “imperative”.

The club moved late in the January window to bring in John Rooney and Niall Canavan.

Barrow paid undisclosed fees to sign the experienced pair on 18-month deals from Stockport County and Bradford City respectively.

Manager Cooper said the club have shown good backing to land such players but maintained that the Bluebirds had not overspent.

“It’s imperative,” he said of the signings. “We needed to do it. Needs must.

“They’re not mindblowing deals. They fit within our structure. It’s not as if we’ve gone out and spent loads and loads of money.

“To do that there’ll have to be some players that go out. Mark Ellis has gone on loan, Jamie Devitt’s gone out, and there’ll probably be two or three more that will go into the National League to get some games as well.

“It’s a good commitment from the owner and the chairman, the board – I think they realise the importance of it.”

Centre-half Canavan could be in line for his debut against Tranmere Rovers this weekend having not joined in time to feature in Tuesday’s 1-0 win at Northampton Town.

That game saw Rooney make his second debut for the club, as another recent arrival, loan striker Aaron Amadi-Holloway, headed the winner.

Cooper has spoken of the influence he believes Canavan can have on the team.

“it’s just a little bit of experience,” the manager said. “He was Bradford’s captain, he’s still only 30, has played in promotion-winning teams and he knows what it’s about.

“He’s very dominant in the air, and as we’ve found out in recent weeks, our undoing has been losing headers in and around the six-yard box.

“We’re certainly hopeful he’ll be able to start sticking his head on a few balls in our box.”

Barrow made six additions in January and Cooper says it is important to have strong options at his disposal.

“It’s good to have good competition for places,” he added.

“It’s ok having lots of players and not knowing what to pick, but if you’ve got good competition for places and you know the players coming in are just as good as the ones in the team, it gives you a lot of confidence.

“We wanted to try and bring in some with a little bit of know-how into the team – people who understand what’s needed to get results at tough places, tough games, trying to eke out results.

“Those boys we brought in certainly can do that.”

On Barrow’s business overall, the manager added: “Only time will tell, but I think we’ve done some good business.

“We’ve brought in some youth and athleticism and some experience, and know-how. A good mix.”