Manager Ian Evatt accepts that he has some big decisions to make this summer if he is to make the most of the progress Barrow AFC are making off the pitch.

Evatt has been working hard on keeping the spine of the Bluebirds’ squad together for some time now, with the news that goalkeeper Joel Dixon has signed a new contract coming as a welcome boost.

But he was given a lot to think about after a late capitulation condemned AFC to a 3-2 defeat against Dover Athletic at Holker Street last Saturday, in a game they had led 2-0 with time running out.

The 37-year-old, who is nearing the end of his first season as a manager, has always maintained that he doesn’t see Barrow’s midtable position as good enough, even though it represents an improvement on surviving relegation by the skin of their teeth last year.

Evatt said: “The momentum gathering off the pitch at this football club is excellent.

“I think the board, the rest of the staff that work here at the ground are doing a magnificent job in creating that momentum, atmosphere and getting things right off the pitch.

“We need to get things right on the pitch now and people might say to me ‘Ian, you’ve done great, you’re 11th, we survived relegation on the last day of last season.’

“I don’t care about that, it’s not what I want and it’s not what I expect. I want this club to be back in the Football League and I firmly believe that we can get it right and we can get there.

“But days like Dover make it challenging because we know that we need to change it and we know that big decisions need to be made and, moving forwards, we will make those decisions.”

Evatt doesn’t believe he’ll need to make wholesale changes to his squad during the summer, meaning it will be more evolution than revolution after he had to near enough build a team from scratch after taking over last year.

He is, however, working hard to increase expectations amongst his players, saying: “To achieve anything and to get into the Football League, which is where we want to be, we have to expect to win every game.

“Do we expect to win every game at the minute? Probably not, so I’ve got to get people in the building and get everyone believing that we can do that.

“I’ll work ever so hard – me and Pete [Atherton], the rest of the staff – to make sure that we embed those messages into the players, into the town, into the board, wherever it needs to change.”

“We will make sure that everyone, come next season, believes this squad and this club can reach the Football League.”