Barrow AFC boss Mark Cooper says the return of key players from injury is only good news if they perform.

The Bluebirds welcomed Robbie Gotts and George Williams back for Tuesday’s trip to Hartlepool United.

In Williams’ case, it was a first outing since November, while fellow sub Gotts was back after a two-week absence.

Both came on in the second half of the 3-1 defeat in the north east.

Their return gives Cooper fresh options at a time he is missing other key players.

On the duo’s comeback, he said: “It’s only important if they perform.

“It’s no point just having them fit – they’ve got to perform, same as everyone else.

“We’ve still got some big injuries – Josh Gordon, Joe Grayson, Josh Kay, Jordan Stevens, Tome Beadling. Big injuries, which has been the case all season.

“Whoever comes in has to perform. We’ve done lots of talking, what about this, what about that – but now, we’ve got to get a run of games where we can be professional and disciplined.”

Cooper will weigh up his selection for Saturday’s visit of Stevenage having tweaked his line-up at Victoria Park.

Against Pools he brought Leicester City loan frontman Jacob Wakeling into the side at the expense of Luke James.

Niall Canavan also made his first start, replacing the injured Beadling.

Barrow need a return to winning ways to keep at bay the threat of being sucked further into the relegation battle, second-bottom Oldham having closed the gap with seven point from nine.

Cooper, though, said patterns remain hard to predict in the division. “The league is full of inconsistency from top to bottom,” he said, “apart from Forest Green and Tranmere maybe.

“If you’re consistent at your level, in your performance, you’ll get results.”