Defender Dan Jones is set to depart Barrow AFC in the coming weeks after it emerged that the soon to be out-of-contract centre back is in discussions with several clubs in League One.

Jones was one of only half a dozen players inherited by manager Ian Evatt when he took charge last year and his second season at Holker Street saw a successful conversion from left-back to the middle of defence.

The 24-year-old made 41 league appearance for the Bluebirds during a season where his centre-back partner regularly changed due to injuries elsewhere in the squad.

His consistent form earned Jones his second call-up to the England C team earlier in the year, while he was also named in the National League Team of the Year, with his form set to be rewarded with a return to the EFL, which he previously played in for Hartlepool and Grimsby.

While he goes with Evatt’s best wishes, the AFC boss is frustrated that the club won’t be getting any money for a player they helped develop.

Evatt said: “I’m delighted for him because it means he’s had a very good season. Obviously, there is a food chain in football and we are more or less at the bottom of it.

“When Football League clubs come in and show interest in your players, especially in League One, then you’ve got to give them our blessing to try their hand at it and Dan deserves that chance with the way he’s played.

“It just leaves a tiny bit of a bitter taste because in October, before [former managing director] Andrew Casson left, I stated that we needed to sign him on another contract.

“It would have cost us next to nothing to extend it but he chose not to and then we just left it too late and we’ve lost an asset for nothing, which is slightly disappointing.”

It’s unclear as of yet where Jones’ destination is, but Evatt is understandably taking it as a compliment that teams from two divisions above the Bluebirds are prepared to take him on.

He said: “He was fantastic for us. It’s a rarity to get a defender who can do it all – he can run, he can jump, he’s physical, he’s left-footed and very good on the ball.

“He’s got an excellent opportunity to go wherever he goes with my blessing and he’ll be kicking on again. I genuinely think he’ll end up as a Championship player.

“But it’s lessons learned, hence why we’re offering young players two to three-year contracts now is too avoid this Dan Jones scenario.

“This club needs to be financially sustainable, to do that we need to get young assets on the pitch, so when the big fish come in we can ask what we want for them.”