It is just under two weeks until Barrow AFC’s players reconvene for tests on their fitness, where manager Ian Evatt will find out if they’ve been looking after themselves properly over the summer.

Pre-season training itself will commence at the beginning of next month when the new faces at the Bluebirds, such as Scott Quigley and Bradley Barry, will have a first chance to settle into the squad.

Last Saturday marked a year since Evatt succeeded Ady Pennock, with the job being his first managerial appointment and he is determined to better last season’s tenth-place finish in the National League.

Evatt said: “The players will be in for fitness tests on June 28 at Bolton University, where we’ll be doing some VO2 Max testing, some body fat testing, we’ll be checking their weight and we’ll be doing some strength and power testing.

“We then start back officially on July 1 back at Hopwood [Hall]. We’re starting from a much better position than last year. The majority of the players will know how I want us to play and what I expect.

“Obviously, of the new ones some know me already, like Brad Barry, but we’ll impress upon them pretty quickly what is required of them, leaving no grey areas.

“But we’ve recruited them because we know they’re able to do it, so it’s really exciting and we’ve got some great games during pre-season and we’re really looking forward to getting going.”

Evatt will be in Barrow today to get his first look at the work that has been done around Holker Street during the summer, which includes a revamped office for him and his staff and improvements to the physio’s room.

The Bluebirds return to action for their first pre-season friendly against Championship club Blackburn Rovers on July 6, with the match being used as a chance to ease their players back into the groove.

Evatt said: “Obviously, that’s a great game to have, but we’ll only be five or six days into pre-season by that game.

“The players will probably only play half a game because they won’t be physically capable of doing more at that stage, but it will be good to test ourselves and see where we’re at.

“It’s exciting to play some of these better teams at home at pre-season, with Blackburn, Blackpool, Morecambe and Sheffield United all coming to Holker Street.”