Barrow AFC manager Ian Evatt has sympathy for tomorrow’s opponents Gateshead, who had their push for a play-off place scuppered by a succession of setbacks in the last few months.

The Heed dropped off the pace in the race for the top seven after losing five out of six games from the middle of last month, during which the club was put up for sale and the players were not paid on time.

The perilous financial situation as the club was part of the reason manager Steve Watson departed for National League North side York City in January.

While successor Ben Clark was able to keep them in the mix for the next few months, a squad weakened by the departures of key players eventually lost patience with the way the club was being run and their form dipped as a result.

Evatt said: “Normally, teams like Gateshead, who’ve really been punching above their weight on a really limited squad, size-wise, the minute you get injuries to one or two players, or players being disgruntled with what they’re getting paid, it does make things extremely difficult.

“They obviously lost Scott Boden to Chesterfield, who is a proven goalscorer at this level, they’ve also lost their centre-half who went to Hartlepool and some of their better players.

“I think they’ve done an outstanding job this season and they should be really applauded.

“They’ve got some very good young players, as we have, and I think Steve Watson and Ben Clark have done a fantastic job.”

Dior Angus is likely to miss the Bluebirds’ final game of the season after going over on his ankle early in Monday’s 1-0 victory over Hartlepool United.

Josh Kay, who scored so spectacularly with his first touch after coming on for him, looks set to come back into the side, although there are unlikely to be too many changes. Jacob Blyth, Rhys Turner and Brian Wilson have all been training recently, but they could all potentially run out of time to prove their fitness.