Defender Dan Jones is pleased that Barrow AFC are able to look up the National League table in the second half of the campaign, rather than look nervously over their shoulders.

Jones is one of the few survivors in the Bluebirds’ squad of last season’s struggles (Jack Barthram, Joel Dixon and Nathan Waterston are the others), where the club went through three managers before surviving relegation by the skin of their teeth.

Instead of just about keeping their heads above water again, AFC are now safely in mid-table and looking to rise higher than their current position of 11th to challenge for a play-off place.

After a gruelling schedule over Christmas and New Year, the players are currently in a two-week break from action and are keen to restore momentum once FC Halifax Town visit Holker Street next Saturday.

Jones said: “It’s always nice when you’re able to look up the table rather than look over your shoulders and see who’s catching you. Last year wasn’t the best and we were checking the table after every game to see if we’d moved down or anything like that, but this year we don’t have anything to fear.

“We’re not having to check it so much because we’re looking up, rather than down, and as long as we keep on putting points on the board, we can go from there and see where we are come the end of the year.”

The 2-0 defeat at Havant & Waterlooville was the last way Barrow would have wanted to head into the break, as it ended their eight-game unbeaten league run and meant they had to dwell on a disappointing performance.

To add to their frustration, three of the four teams directly above them in the table also lost, which made last Saturday a lost opportunity for them to make up ground in the play-off chase.

Jones said: “That was the frustrating thing, that a lot of teams dropped points – if we’d managed to get those three points, or even a point, on the day, then it would have pushed us a lot closer and closed that gap between us and the play-offs.

“If we can get back to the form we showed in the weeks before the Havant game, then hopefully we can have a nice push towards the end of the season.”

Jones has insisted that AFC’s minds are already on the clash with Halifax, despite it still being eight days away.

“The preparation began straight after the weekend,” Jones said, adding: “You get yourself to training on the Monday morning and you concentrate on the next game. We’ve now got a long period where we’re concentrating on the game coming up and putting our best efforts towards that.”