Barrow AFC are well into their first week of pre-season training and manager Ian Evatt is very pleased with the condition in which his players returned following their summer break.

Bluebirds fans will get a first chance to see the seven new signings that have been made in the last couple of months in Saturday’s friendly against Championship side Blackburn Rovers at Holker Street.

While fresh faces have been brought in, AFC have been able to keep the majority of their best players of last season, with the likes of Jason Taylor, Lewis Hardcastle and captain Josh Granite set to play a key role again.

Training began on Monday after the players met up at the University of Bolton last Friday, where they underwent fitness tests, and thankfully none of them have over-indulged since their last taste of match action at Gateshead on April 27.

Evatt said: “I’m really pleased. First and foremost, I think they’ve really looked after themselves and I think what we’ve done this summer is that we’ve not just brought in footballers, but brought in footballers who are big and athletic.

“Aesthetically, they look fantastic, they’re in great condition and I think four or five of the ones we’ve brought in are 6ft-plus, which gives us that extra bit of physical presence but also helps us maintain our footballing standards.

“They look great and let’s hope we can keep them in one piece now and have a good pre-season before kicking on come August.”

Barrow will finally find out their fixtures for the 2019/20 season at 1pm this afternoon, with today marking one month until the campaign gets under way for real.

The trip to Notts County is one that will likely be marked by Bluebirds fans, while as ever there are some marathon journeys to look forward to, with the likes of Torquay, Dover and Yeovil in the division this year.

Evatt is feeling very positive ahead of his second season in charge, in which he is looking to substantially build upon last season’s tenth-place finish.

He said: “I think everybody has that feel-good factor at the moment and it’s important we keep that snowballing, that we keep backing the club, we keep getting behind the new board and the new directors because they’re doing a fantastic job.

“The Supporters Trust and the volunteers have done amazingly well”