As manager of Barrow AFC, Ian Evatt has always insisted that other clubs would have to pay ‘top dollar’ to take any of his contracted players off his hands.

His faith in their value was vindicated by them helping the Bluebirds win promotion to the English Football League and his current club are now sticking by his mantra amid keen interest from Bolton Wanderers.

It is understood the Trotters had an offer for Evatt’s services rejected by AFC yesterday, as it fell well below the buy-out fee, believed to be around £250,000 (although that has been disputed in other corners) for the 38-year-old, who has two years remaining on his contract.

The board’s keenness in keeping hold of their manager is understandable, as Evatt led Barrow to an achievement few in or outside of the club would have thought possible when he was appointed two years ago.

Not only is it a sign of the times that a Bluebirds boss is wanted by a club of Bolton’s standing in the game, but also that the Holker Street side will be sharing a division with the Trotters for the first time ever next season.

However, this is an issue that is set to run through the weekend, as Bolton remain hopeful in being given a chance to speak to Evatt.

As of yesterday evening, he was ten to one ON with some bookmakers as being the man to replace Keith Hill as the man in charge at the University of Bolton Stadium, which hosted Premier League football just over eight years ago.

Despite summer being in full swing, the situation with Evatt is one of many things that are still be resolved over the coming months at Barrow, who don’t yet know when their first season in the EFL since 1972 will get under way.

Also yet to be announced is the retained list, with some players still negotiating new contracts with the club.

Among them is captain Josh Granite, who was signed from Ashton United just before Evatt took charge in the summer of 2018 and has been working hard on maintaining his fitness during the lockdown.

On how he got through this difficult time, Granite said: “I’ve got through it with a consistent routine, with my fitness programme, through speaking to a lot of people and a lot of face times and Zooms to keeping in contact with a lot of close friends to see how people were doing.

“I’ve got a great family around me and great group of friends and a lot of friends in football who I’ve been speaking to every single day.

“I took time to do other things that I wouldn’t normally do and to just try and make the best of the situation.”