Barrow AFC will not be treating the FA Trophy as a distraction to their pursuit of promotion from the National League, according to manager Ian Evatt.

The Bluebirds were drawn away at Northern Premier League side Atherton Collieries, who announced former player Brad Cooke as their new manager on Monday, in the first round of the competition, which will be taking place next weekend.

Between now and then, AFC will be welcoming Aldershot Town to Holker Street on Saturday, as they look to defend, or even extend, their three-point lead at the top of the league table.

With a busy Christmas schedule to follow the tie at Alder House, Evatt will have been forgiven for making changes to his line-up, but he is determined to pick up the win, and not just because it would finally be his first in one of the cup competitions since taking charge last year.

Evatt said: “I want to win every game I play, it’s that simple. Do I trust every single player in my squad? The answer’s yes, so maybe there will be opportunities for others, but that doesn’t necessarily weaken us.

“You saw Olly Dyson come on last Saturday and score a great goal, Connor Brown played in four games, we won all four and he got left out, harshly maybe, but he’s done a fantastic job.

“Jason Taylor’s not in the team at the moment, but he came on and did great [at Maidenhead] and he was still out working after the final whistle - what a fantastic pro.

“We’ll have a look at it and me may rotate, but I don’t know yet.”

The match will come too soon for club captain Josh Granite, but his recovery from the broken collarbone he suffered against Sutton United at the start of November is accelerating faster than expected.

He maintained his fitness during the warm-up before last Saturday’s 4-0 victory at Maidenhead United, with the performance of the squad on the day giving Evatt some nice selection problems for the games ahead, as AFC enter the second half of their campaign.

“We’ve got a great group of players, a fantastic group of players to choose from and picking 11 is difficult, picking a squad of 16 is difficult,” Evatt said.

“But this is what we wanted. It’s why we put the effort into recruitment and why we recruited so early in the summer and we we kept most of the most of the players from last season because there wasn’t much wrong from last season.

“It was just us tweaking things here and there and they’ve stuck together. The ones we had last season have improved again and the ones we’ve brought in have added quality to us.”