Barrow AFC manager Ian Evatt was pleased to see his players give a good account of themselves in their pre-season friendly against Blackburn Rovers after putting them through a gruelling first week of training.

The Bluebirds were eventually beaten 2-1 by the Championship side at Holker Street, but they had a very good spell in the latter stages of the first half, during which they deservedly drew level from Scott Quigley’s header.

Rovers’ extra quality was more apparent in the second half, as was their extra fitness – they’d actually been back in training for a week longer than AFC.

Nonetheless, Evatt was able to give every player in his squad – apart from the injured Bradley Barry – their first 45 minutes of the summer and was able to test them against a team three divisions above them.

Evatt said: “I think we have to be realistic in terms of the lads having a really tough first week back, while Blackburn have been back a hell of a lot longer than us.

“I thought in the first half we were very competitive and had probably the better chances – we should have been winning at half-time, really, but I was really pleased with that and there were a lot of positives.

“In the second half, I thought when I changed it the other lads looked a bit tired and leggy for whatever reason.

“Sometimes it’s just not easy to be sitting around and then having a quick warm-up and then starting again in the second half."

Evatt was bemused as to why he wasn’t able to bring Connor Brown back on for the injured Brian Wilson with 14 minutes to go.

“I think it’s a really silly rule and I’m not hear to criticise officials, but I just think sometimes a bit of common sense should prevail,” he said.