IAN Evatt paid tribute to Tony Callister’s work after it was announced the head of Barrow AFC’s performance centre would be stepping down.

Callister has played a key role in developing the club’s youth section in recent years, with this season seeing three of the club’s under-21s – Sam Stephens, Christian Sloan and Tom Dawson – signing first-team forms.

Barrow manger Evatt was sad to see Callister decide to depart, but he wished him well for the future and thanked him for the help he has provided since the former Blackpool and Chesterfield defender took over last summer.

“It’s obviously disappointing when a member of staff leaves and he’s obviously got his own things he wants to pursue from now on, but what I will say is he’s been a huge supporter of mine,” said Evatt.

“He’s given me everything I’ve needed help-wise and also it’s nice to see the under-21s have really kicked on with him and Craig’s (Rutherford) help. Fingers crossed he can go on to do what he wants to do and I wish him all the best in everything he wants to do.

“But for now we need to concentrate on the whole squad, the academy and the under-21s to gives Barrow AFC an identity, a platform and a philosophy of playing for the young children up to the first team where we all do the same things and we play them same way, which can only benefit us.”

Evatt has long stated his desire to get more players from the area coming through Barrow’s youth system into the senior set-up.

And he wants to ensure the Bluebirds attract the next generation as supporters as well as players too.

“The more success the first team can have, the better it is at appealing to the younger generation to become Barrow fans,” said Evatt.

“That’s something we need to work very hard on is to get them backing the football club and supporting the team, if not trying to get into the first team as players. Hopefully we can do that.”