Barrow AFC’s first friendly during pre-season looks set to be one of their hardest, with Championship side Blackburn Rovers visiting Holker Street tomorrow, and captain Josh Granite is looking forward to the test.

Rovers are one of the three Football League teams making the journey to Barrow during this month, with Premier League club Sheffield United also sending their under-23 team in what should be a series of good workouts for the Bluebirds.

With three divisions separating the two teams, there is a chance Blackburn’s extra quality could tell at times and even though the match is all about building up fitness, Granite and the rest of the defence are going to have to be on their guard.

After being worked very hard during what is their first week of pre-season training, AFC’s players are understandably looking forward to getting back on the pitch after over two months away.

“I’m sure it will be a walk in the park,” Granite joked, adding: “We’re fully aware of what we’re up against and for me it’s not about the scoreline, it’s about getting minutes under your belt, working hard and just getting that communication back going.

“For me, personally, it’s about getting the back four and the shape solid and everyone starting to understand the roles, so that when the business starts on August 3, everyone will be aware of their role in the team, their position and hopefully we can hit the ground running. Blackburn are going to be an unbelievable side and it’s going to be a massive, massive test against them.

“I think they started training a week before us as well, so they’re going to be a bit fitter and sharper, but that’s up to me and the other senior lads to get everyone pulling in the right direction.”

The Bluebirds found out their fixtures for the season on Wednesday and one away trip next month stood out for Granite.

Stockport County are back in the National League after a six-year exile, which came after a dramatic fall that saw them drop three divisions, and AFC will be making the trip to Edgley Park on Tuesday, August 13

Granite said: “I live in Stockport, so that one will be a good one for me. We play them in the fourth game at their place, so that is one for me to look forward to.

“I was actually at Stockport when I was a 16-year-old and I was there when they had a School of Excellence, so it’s a club that’s quite close to my heart and it’s a club that I have followed over the last few years.

“They’ve had some bad times, but they’ve done well to get promoted last year and I’ll be hoping they do OK, bar the two times they play us.”