The two-week stretch without a competitive match will allow some of Barrow AFC’s walking wounded to recover, thus increasing the options available to manager Ian Evatt.

The Bluebirds’ squad was stretched to the limit for their 1-0 defeat at Ebbsfleet United last weekend, with them travelling down to Kent with seven players unavailable for the game, four of those strikers.

That situation was exacerbated when captain Josh Granite had to pull out following the warm-up, due to an ankle problem, making him the third centre-back on the sidelines.

Thankfully for AFC, the injury crisis should ease by the time they face Eastleigh next Saturday, as top scorer Tyler Smith has recovered from a tight hamstring, while Rhys Turner returned to training this week.

Defender Matt Elsdon is also nearing a comeback, having not featured since suffering a knee injury during his debut against Halifax Town on August 7.

Evatt said: “It’s a busy couple of weeks for us and it’s great that we’ll be getting some players back during it.

“Rhys Turner is not far away now and he’ll be a big player for us and we’ll have more options and more firepower available to us over the coming weeks, which is exciting to see.

“We’ll go into the Eastleigh game off the back of a good performance and we should take a lot of credit from the Ebbsfleet game because that was outstanding.

“Anyone who saw that will look at that and say what a good performance it was from us and we were unfortunate not to win.”

The players that were available to Barrow did indeed give a very good account of themselves at Ebbsfleet, who yesterday parted company with their manager Daryl McMahon, even if it wasn’t quite enough to prevent a fifth consecutive defeat, in all competitions.

The AFC supporters that travelled down to Stonebridge Road were left wondering how their side came away from the game with no points, after they saw them dominate proceedings, with Fleet’s defence just about standing firm.

With their attack and defence so depleted, the display brought renewed hope that the Bluebirds’ form could turn around soon.

Evatt said: “It’s tough, but when times are hard, and it wasn’t ever going to be smooth and easy, you’ve got to dig in and battle.

“I’m so proud of the players for the way they gave me that desire and fight after two or three dodgy performances.

“That was us at Ebbsfleet and I don’t think any Barrow supporter that went to that game will be disappointed with what they saw.”