Manager Ian Evatt is giving Rhys Turner a chance to earn a new contract with Barrow AFC because he still believes in the striker's ability to make a big difference in the National League.

Turner went through an injury-hit campaign last year, with afflictions including a broken foot, groin tear and hamstring strains restricting him to just 12 appearances after his arrival from Morecambe the previous summer.

The 23-year-old was one of two players, along with defender Brian Wilson, who were offered the chance to train with the Bluebirds during pre-season and prove that they should be kept at the club.

Wilson has since left after he broke down again in AFC's opening friendly against Blackburn, but Turner remains and although he isn't fit for a playing return yet, he was involved in the pre-match warm-up against his previous club on Tuesday.

Evatt said: "He's not quite ready yet and we need to be careful with Rhys. We have to make sure that when he comes in to play, he is 100 per cent fit with no issues.

"Barrow fans are probably wondering 'why is he still here? He was injured so many times last season' etc.

"I'm telling you now the boy can play. I've seen him in training and he does things that take your breath away, so we're trying to get him right.

"If we can get him right, then he is a top, top player, so we need to be patient, bid our time and hopefully get him to a stage where we can get him on the field of play 100 per cent fit for a period of time."

While Turner won't be in action during this afternoon's friendly against Blackpool, Evatt will be for the last five minutes against his old club in what will be his final game before he 'officially retires' from playing.

In a match dubbed the 'Ian Evatt' derby, supporters of both teams will be able to buy their own face mask of the AFC boss, who made 251 appearances for the Seasiders, with 38 of those coming in the Premier League.

There is expected to be a large away following at Holker Street.

Evatt still holds the Bloomfield Road outfit in great affection, saying: "I love that football club. That football club has given me so much in my life, so many memories, some wonderful times.

"The fans are magnificent, the club is magnificent and I'm pleased that their fans can go back to supporting their football club again.

"It's a pleasure to be able to be a manager against them, against the guy that signed me as young lad for Blackpool, Simon Grayson.

"It'll be great to see a few friendly faces and I'm really excited, and hopefully we can get a big crowd."