IAN Evatt wants to see his Barrow AFC squad continue their evolution under him when they host FC Halifax Town in the FA Trophy first round this afternoon.

They will have to do so, however, without Tyler Smith after the exciting young striker was recalled from his loan spell with the Bluebirds by parent club Sheffield United.

Smith had thrived in the 3-4-1-2 formation Evatt has fielded in each of the last four National League games, in which they have secured 10 points from a possible 12.

They have also kept clean sheets in all of those games, putting to bed the notion that their mostly young squad had, while the football was pleasing on the eye, become a soft touch in previously losing six games in a row.

Evatt said: “I didn’t take over the job until the last week in June and pre-season started a week later, when I had probably four or five players.

“I had to recruit quickly and put a squad together that had obviously never played together before, I had to implement a style, a new philosophy, and I thought we did that.

“We then had a bump in the road, as most clubs do, but we’ve found an alternative way as well, so we’ve now got two options of playing a 4-3-3 or 3-4-1-2, we can play both systems.

“I think we’ve done well, but I still think we can do better.”

Evatt is working on what is a considerably reduced budget, compared to what his predecessors had at their disposal, after former owner Paul Casson decided the club needed to cut costs.

While Smith is no longer there, young loanees Rhys Norrington-Davies, Luke Burgess and Kyle Jameson remain, while the likes of Josh Kay, Matt Elsdon and Dan Jones should all still have their best years ahead of them.

Christian Sloan is set to be part of the squad for the visit of Halifax too, having trained with the first team throughout the week.

Evatt said: “As a football club, we needed to start getting assets on the football pitch and I believe we’re starting to get that now.

“To have longevity in this league and for us to have a chance of pushing ourselves into the Football League, the football club needs to be self-sufficient.

“That means that we need to get: a) people through the door to watch us but, b) to have saleable assets that we can develop, move on and then we keep signing players and tick over that way.

“That’s what we’re aiming to do – we’ve had our inconsistencies with the young players and we’ll go on having inconsistencies.

“But we’ve got some bright young players who are going to improve and impress as the season goes on.”