Barrow AFC captain Josh Granite doesn’t think there is an outstanding favourite in the National League this season and that the race for promotion to the Football will be a wide open one.

It was pretty tight at the top last season, with Leyton Orient sealing promotion on the final day ahead of Salford City, who went up via the play-offs, while Solihull Moors pushed those two teams almost all the way.

Solihull and AFC Fylde are expected to be pushing near the top again, while the problems suffered by the last campaign’s relegated pair from League Two, Notts County and Yeovil, makes an immediate return even harder for both.

The Bluebirds are expecting themselves to make the play-offs this season, with Granite saying: “I don’t think we need to be looking at the two teams who’ve come down to be our biggest competitors.

“I know it will be a very tough league, as it always is, and there are no games where you’ve got a divine right to turn up and get three points, as we found out last year, more so against the bottom-half teams.

“We just need to make sure we’re on it every game consistently, get good results at home and away from home. Certainly we need to pick up a lot more wins at home this season.”

After learning how to play out from the back during his first year with AFC, Granite has shown signs during pre-season that is more comfortable with bringing the ball out himself into the opposition half.

He said: “It’s certainly something that I spoke to the manager about and I’ve worked very hard with his assistant, Pete Atherton, who gives me information on what angles to create and where I need to be on the pitch when we’re in possession.

“I do feel like I need to step in more often with the ball and it’s something I’ve been consciously trying to do more.”