Manager Ian Evatt is expecting Maidenhead United to get in Barrow AFC’s faces in tomorrow’s fixture against the Magpies, whose safety from relegation was assured last weekend.

Under Alan Devonshire, Maidenhead have battled their way to survival in the National League after a poor start to the season, similar to last Saturday’s opponents, Dover Athletic.

Evatt is hoping to see a reaction from his players after their 3-2 defeat against the Whites, which came after the Bluebirds had taken a 2-0 lead halfway through the second half.

The 37-year-old had spoken before that game about not wanting to see any flip-flops being worn out on the field and is now determined to see his players pick up maximum points from their last three games of the season.

He knows it may be a bumpy ride at York Road, however, saying: “I think we need a reaction, it’s as simple as that.

“I’d like for us to go there and really be strong and solid and be hard to beat, which we’re going to have to be on Friday because they’re a very direct, physical team.

“The pitch isn’t great, it’s on a massive slant as well, so it’s not going to be a pretty game because they really put in on you.

“They’ll look to really test our back three, put long balls down the channels, work for set-pieces and play from set-pieces, so we’ve got to plan to go up against that.

“We have to stand up to that, first and foremost, then hopefully our football will take over.”

Evatt’s plans for next season continued to take shape this week after goalkeeper Joel Dixon and defender Sam Hird both signed new one-year contracts with the club.

Negotiations continue to take place behind the scenes with other current Bluebirds players and Evatt is hoping there will be more good news in terms of who’s staying later in the week.

He said: “Joel’s done great. It’s great that we’ve managed to keep him – I think he’s kept 12 clean sheets in 25 starts, which is excellent.

“I think he can see that we’re building something here, so that was a good one to get. I think that any ‘keeper, at times, makes mistakes, but Joel hasn’t apart from probably the one where he kicked it against that forward from Harrogate.

“Other than that, he’s been flawless so credit to him, he deserves his contract and with Sam, we want to keep hold of our more experienced and better players and Sam certainly is that.

“We have not seen the best of Sam yet – I think he needs a full pre-season, which he’ll get next year and then we’ll see what he can really do.”