Manager Ian Evatt will be heading back to a club he has a lot of affection for when Barrow AFC travel to Chesterfield tomorrow, but he insists there’s only one place where his loyalties now lie.

The match at the Proact Stadium will be Evatt’s first return since he took charge of the Bluebirds last summer, having been given a taste of management when he finished last season as the Spireites’ caretaker boss.

By then, their fate had been sealed, as they were relegated from the Football League after a 97-year stay, with Saturday being AFC’s first visit to that part of Derbyshire since March 1967.

They’ll be up against a Chesterfield side desperate to scramble out of the National League drop zone, as Barrow look to get back to winning ways after going three games without a goal in 2019, so far.

Evatt said: “Obviously, it was a fixture I looked for straight away when they came out. It’s a club that I’ve had a great affiliation with, in two different spells.

“I’ve had various successful times there and I’ve had some bad times, but the fact is my family have got a lot of friends at the club and the area and everyone looks for that game.

“But there’s no two ways about it, I’ve asked for 14 tickets on Saturday for my family to sit with the Barrow fans because on Saturday they are Barrow fans, it’s as simple as that, regardless of the heritage.

“We’re here to try and get three points and both me and my family will be making sure we do all we can to support the team to get those three points.”

Going into the reverse fixture at Holker Street in August, Chesterfield had won their first three games of the season, only to have Barrow end their 100 per cent record with a dramatic 3-2 victory, courtesy of Tyler Smith’s double.

No-one at the time would have imagined that match kicking off a prolonged spell of 19 league games without a win that dropped the Spireites down the table and left them fearing a third successive relegation.

Evatt said: “It is disappointing [for them] and I genuinely hope they can stay up and survive because it’s a great club that deserves to be in a better place than what they are.

“But, having said that, we want to go down there and get three points on Saturday, it’s as simple as that.

“If we can go there and win and edge ourselves closer to that top seven, then hopefully they can beat everyone else in the top seven and that gets us in the play-offs! Of course, on Saturday, emotion aside, we’ll be doing all we can to win that game.”

Despite nine places separating them in the table, Chesterfield have actually lost less games in the National League than the Bluebirds this season, but their tally of just five wins is the joint-lowest in the division.

“They haven’t won many, but they haven’t lost that many, either,” Evatt said, “so doing a league double over them would be pleasing because I genuinely think we are a very, very good football team.

“We’ve made mistakes and, yes, at times we have been inconsistent, but of late I feel we have got to a consistent level.

“Last Saturday [against Halifax] was disappointing, but I think now that we are refreshed and ready to go for a good game on Saturday ahead of a two-week break.”