Striker Jack Hindle is itching to know who Barrow AFC’s first opponents for next season will be, with the fixtures for the 2019/20 National League campaign to be finally released on Wednesday.

While teams in the Premier League and Football League have known when and where they’ll be going for weeks, those in the fifth tier have been made to wait until just a month before their campaigns begin for real on August 3.

Admittedly, it wasn’t known until just a few weeks ago which of Gateshead or Aldershot Town would be in the division, with the latter eventually given a reprieve from relegation due to financial mismanagement at the former.

Hindle admits the new season feels that little bit more real once the fixtures come out and he has his own special memories of the opening day, having scored twice on his Bluebirds debut against Havant & Waterlooville last year.

Hindle said: “It’s a bit annoying, obviously, because the ones in the Premier League and Football League have been out for so long and we’ve had to wait a little bit.

“You just want to know what you’re first game is, so you can aim for that.

“We know that in August and September, there are a lot of points that can be picked up - if it’s 14 or 15 games across those two months, that’s a lot of points that can be played for.

“I think we’ll have to target that early because we know that we need to make our home a fortress again and not get beaten at home through the whole season because if that happens, and you have a decent away record, I think we’ll be more than fine.”

After undergoing fitness tests at the University of Bolton last Friday. pre-season begins today for Barrow’s players, with their first friendly of the summer, against Championship side Blackburn Rovers at Holker Street, taking place on Saturday.

Pre-season training isn’t quite as dreaded by footballers as much as it was in the past, with much more work with the ball taking place these days.

Hindle said: “Last year was tough, but it was very possession and football-based because obviously that’s the way the gaffer wants to play and I know for a fact that he’ll be doing the same.

“Some of the sessions we did through the season were actually tougher than pre-season.

“Because of our poor cup runs last year, we had a few weekends off so we would do a lot of tough sessions on the Thursday and Friday.

“I think this year the gaffer is going to just get down to business because we’ve got a game on that first Saturday, so the first week will be tough, we’ll all get 45 minutes on the Saturday and it’s just about kicking on from there.”