Barrow AFC will be back up against the team who they turned their season around when Aldershot come to Holker Street tomorrow, with manager Ian Evatt believing that his side are stronger for their early-season toils.

When the Bluebirds travelled to Aldershot three months ago, they had lost six of the first nine games of the campaign, with them allowing winning positions to slide in many of those matches.

They controlled the game at the Recreation Ground, but they almost threw the result away there as well, with Joel Dixon’s penalty save in stoppage time preserving the 2-1 win.

It’s proven to be a ‘Sliding Doors’ moment in AFC’s season, as it was the start of their current run of 12 victories in 14 National League games that has propelled them three points clear at the top of the table ahead of the return game against the Shots.

Evatt said: “It was a turning point in terms of the result, but our performance levels were there for long periods earlier in the season.

“People keep saying to me ‘if we’d got off to any sort of decent start, we’d be well clear by now,’ but it’s never that easy.

“Sometimes, adversity and what we went through earlier in the season - in terms of our performances, we were great, but we weren’t getting the results we deserved - that can bring you closer together as a group.

“We’ve used that adversity to our benefit, we’ve come out the other side stronger for it and now we can hopefully reap the rewards for the rest of the season.”

One of the reasons for Barrow’s superb run of results has been their ability to pick up points against teams in the lower half of the table more consistently, something that proved to be a problem for them last season.

They’re up against another team at the wrong end of the table in Aldershot, who are keeping their heads above water, sitting four points clear of the relegation zone in 19th place.

Evatt said: “We don’t take any game lightly. Aldershot are a good team, they’ve got some very good attacking players, I like the manager, Danny Searle, I think he’s got some great ideas to how he wants to play.

“We need to go out and do our jobs and do the things we have been doing really well, maintain that performance level we gave against Maidenhead because it showed that if we’re not quite at the races in this division, like we were in the first 20 minutes against Chorley, it can come back and bit you on the backside.

“We’ve scored 45 goals, which is a hell of a lot for this stage of the season, but also we could have scored a great deal more.”

Before what is AFC’s last home game before Christmas, their players will be visiting the children’s ward at Furness General Hospital this afternoon, giving out presents they’ve paid for with their own money.

“I love doing stuff in the community, I think it’s vital,” Evatt said. “Our community and our fans are a huge part of what we’re trying to do and they’re the foundation of any football club.

“For us to go and spend some time with the children that are less fortunate than our own, who are carrying illnesses, that are there longer term, it’s important that we go and put a smile on their faces.

“The players have gone into their own pockets and bought presents to give to these sick children and it’s great to see - all we want is to build a connection with the community and show we care about what’s happening in Barrow.”