Barrow AFC manager Ian Evatt believes this summer represents a chance to really push forward, as his side looks to build on their mid-table finish in the National League.

After last year’s frantic scrap to avoid relegation, it was a more sedate end to the season for the Bluebirds this time around, as they cruised to a 2-0 victory at Gateshead in what was their final game of the campaign last Saturday.

Evatt signed a new three-year contract with AFC last week, while the futures of key players, such as captain Josh Granite, Joel Dixon, Sam Hird and Josh Kay have already been secured.

Midfielder John Rooney is one of the players currently negotiating a new deal while the club are working on bringing in new faces to add to Lewis Hardcastle, who signed permanently in March.

Evatt said: “It’s a big summer. I think it's a big summer for everybody.

"The club as a whole is moving forward at a rate of knots at the moment and I love the way the town is re-engaging with the playing squad and with the football club in itself.

"The volunteers are magnificent with what they're doing on a Sunday, the ground's being developed, we're really trying to move forward and we're taking our recruitment very seriously. We are keeping hold of our better players, which is good and important as well, so it's a club going places.

"We have to make sure that we keep our heads down, keep working as hard as we've done all season and there's a real big summer coming up of hard work for everybody to take into next season."

The players were at the training ground for the final time yesterday before going off on their summer break and it sounds as though there are some exciting pre-season games to come when everyone reconvenes in July.

Unlike last year, the new kit will be ready from the start, thanks to new suppliers 17Sport, while Evatt has much more of a base to build on for his second season at Holker Street, after having to near enough put a new squad together from scratch for his first.

Evatt said: "We've got some very good games in pre-season, some tough ones but good tests, especially at home, so hopefully when they get announced the fans will be happy with who we're playing.

"There are some big local clubs that are coming up to Holker Street and will give us a game and it just shows that they've heard about how we play and what we do that they want to come and see it for themselves. Hopefully we'll get some big crowds in pre-season and next season we can hit the ground running."