Barrow AFC manager Ian Evatt will have something available to him this weekend that he’s never had before during his time in charge: a virtually fully-fit squad.

The Bluebirds were without eight first-team players for their match at Ebbsfleet United just under two weeks ago, with that number including four strikers and three centre-backs.

However, almost every one of them has returned to training in the two-week break from competitive action that comes to an end on Saturday, when Eastleigh head to Holker Street.

That includes top scorer Tyler Smith, captain Josh Granite and long-term absentees Rhys Turner and Matt Elsdon, who haven’t featured since August, leaving only forward Nathan Waterston (shoulder) unavailable.

This means Evatt will have plenty of options to choose from for the visit of the Spitfires and the AFC boss believes having multiple players back has lifted the mood.

Evatt said: “I get the feeling now that the spark’s coming back – we’ve had a bit of a rocky run, where we haven’t been playing consistently bad, it’s just been small patches of games that have cost us.

“But for the first time now, I’ve got a fully-fit squad to choose from, which is exciting for me.

“I haven’t had that all season, where I’ve had 21 or 22 fit players that are all chomping at the bit to get into the first team and it’s a nice problem to have.

“Dan Jones is back in training, Josh Granite is back in training, so everyone is fully-fit, although obviously Rhys Turner, Matt Elsdon and Jacob Blyth are short of minutes, so we’ll have to build them [up] slowly.

“But they’re joining in full sessions now, they’ve been training for over a week and there looks to be no injuries.”

Evatt doesn’t mind admitting that having the likes of Turner and Elsdon available to him at last will feel like making a new signing, as he’s barely had the chance to pick them since they both signed for the Bluebirds during the summer.

Young defender Elsdon injured his knee on his competitive debut for the Bluebirds in the away game at Halifax Town on August 7, while striker Turner fractured a bone in his foot at Leyton Orient just four days later.

Evatt said: “It’s a huge boost for everybody because all of a sudden there’s competition for places throughout the squad, which is great for me.

“It also means that you’ve got to produce the goods, otherwise you lose your place in the team, it’s that simple.

“It’s nice to have everyone back fit and firing and ready to go for the weekend.”