The eagerly anticipated fixtures were announced last Sunday and for me it just hit home how important it is that we gain promotion and get out of League One at the first opportunity.

With the lack of teams in the division, the fixture list is very disjointed and we must hope that the cup draws are favourable if we are to have a meaningful season. The fixture list looks fairly full but an early cup exit results in lots of big gaps.

When you are trying to build momentum, both on the field with consistent performances and off the field getting our fans in to some sort of routine, it does us no favours with the potential gaps.

From an injury perspective, this may be a blessing as they allow a proper period of recover from niggling injuries; the sort that don't prevent you from playing but also the sort that the players really know they are putting their bodies on the line.

I really think that League One needs a rethink. Last time we were there, we had a cup run that ended at Blackpool to help fill the gaps, but with stronger Championship clubs in the 1895 Cup we are far from guaranteed any sort of run.

Eleven teams producing only ten guaranteed home fixtures also brings enormous financial pressures. I have every faith that our loyal supporters will stick with us but I guess it is up to the team to deliver and for those fans to be enjoying a promotion challenge.

Despite keeping hold of the majority of last season's squad, many of whom have proven that they can perform in the Championship, it will be no gimme that we secure promotion.

There are many clubs equally as keen to escape this division, and the likes of Newcastle and Doncaster appear to be spending more than us.

For League One to be sustainable it needs more teams. With Ottawa and New York on the horizon, promising to enter with massive budgets, I'm not sure if that is the solution, as many teams in the division operate with very low income streams. Personally, I am a fan of expansion, but maybe there needs a fast-track system. Some sort of hybrid franchise/promotion system to make your way up the pyramid.

There isn't an easy solution but we do need a strategy to help the lower league teams. Suggestions of funding cuts and a return to the community game present massive risk to our club. It is so important that everyone gets behind the club.

In terms of squad strength, we were dealt a massive blow last week with Martin Aspinwall announcing his retirement. We still felt Martin had another season in him and we knew that we had signed Mr. Consistency.

However, he was totally honest with the club about his feelings and we must thank him for everything he has done for Barrow in the last few years. He was the consummate professional and led by example in all he did. He will be a big loss, but we wish him and his family well.