The deal that led to goalkeeper Andy Firth making the surprise move from Barrow AFC to Scottish giants Rangers for an undisclosed fee last week was one that suited all parties, according to manager Ian Evatt.

Firth began the season as the Bluebirds’ first choice between the posts for the opening months of the season, after signing from Liverpool, as fellow stopper Joel Dixon recovered from knee surgery.

However, after Dixon earned a recall for the match at Ebbsfleet United at the start of November, the 22-year-old had to make do with just a solitary appearance in the FA Trophy last month, due to his teammate’s excellent form.

Given his status, signing for the Ibrox club was an opportunity he was never going to turn down, as it gave him the chance to work under Rangers manager Steven Gerrard, who was a youth coach during Firth’s time with the Reds.

Evatt said: “It probably was a bit of a surprise, to be honest, but I said all along that in the summer we tried to recruit young assets.

“Andy has played in 19 or 20 games for us this season and done really well, but obviously Joel has come in and I think we’ve kept ten clean sheets in the time that Joel has been in.

“It’s been tough for him, but he’s trained really well and he’s still a very good young ‘keeper.

“When Rangers came knocking at the door, it looked like the right deal for the club – obviously we are going to have to produce players to be sustainable moving forwards.

“It was a good deal, so we took it and we move on.”

Evatt moved quickly to replace Firth by signing Brad Wade on a month’s loan from Rochdale, with the 18-year-old being given a place on the bench for last Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Chesterfield.

When asked whether Wade will stay at Holker Street beyond his initial deal, Evatt said: “I think there will be an option to extend his loan. Brad is a very good young ‘keeper.

“Joel is in the form of his life, he’s obviously got the shirt at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that he’s not going to come under any pressure.

“I think you’ve seen now that, more or less, in every position we’ve got someone pressing the first 11. We’ve got that tight-knit group that when we keep everyone fit, we’re a very good side.”