Barrow AFC’s Bluebirds Trust director Levi Gill believes matchdays at Holker Street have been transformed by the huge increase in the size of crowds at the ground during the course of the season.

In terms of attendances, success has certainly bred success, with fans flocking to watch the Bluebirds in far greater numbers as a result of them challenging for a return to the Football League for the first time since 1972.

When the club’s current owners took charge in November 2018, some home league fixtures were struggling to attract four figures, although some healthy crowds later in the season eventually pushed the average gate for 2018/19 up to 1,375.

That figure will be significantly higher this year, especially as every National League game since the match against Barnet on November 23 has seen over 2,000 fans come through the turnstiles at Holker Street.

Twice so far the 3,000 barrier has been topped and with teams who have larger away followings set to visit in the coming months, more big crowds are set to watch Ian Evatt’s promotion contenders in the remainder of the campaign.

Gill said: “It has changed the matchday, for me, if I look back over 12 months to what it used to be, to the added responsibility for not just the directors but the increase in what it means for the Trust, for all the turnstile operators and stewards.

“There’s a steep learning curve there and you can’t walk around the ground without being asked for toilets or hot dogs or a range of improvements that we still want to make.

“We know these are what I would call ‘nice problems to have.’ If we’re honest, all apart from Ian Evatt and maybe Mark Hetherington in August wouldn’t have seen any of this coming.

“The gates and the support we’re getting is a welcome surprise and it means more work, but these are the challenges we ultimately signed on for.”

With 13 games of the season left, Barrow are four points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand, meaning the race is on for automatic promotion - and avoiding a significant clash in the local calendar.

The annual Keswick to Barrow walk takes place on May 2, which coincides with the National League play-offs.

Bluebirds Trust chairman Steve Herbert is hoping the job will have been done by then, saying: “I’m rather hoping that I won’t be walking to Wembley.

“I think that we are in a great position and the one thing Ian Evatt has done - one of many things - is instil that confidence and belief around the town and that’s probably one of the reasons why we’re doing so well with the [Play Your Part] funding and fundraising,”