It felt as though Barrow AFC were put ‘on hold’ during their lengthy wait to find out whether they would be promoted from the National League, but they can now prepare for what will be an historic season in League Two.

Off the pitch, things are already progressing at pace to improve the matchday experience at the Bluebirds’ Holker Street stadium.

Construction work on the new fanzone at the Steelworks End of the ground finished a number of weeks ago and work is ongoing to fit out the inside of the building, including the all-important bar, by the time supporters are allowed to visit again.

There will also be a roof over the Holker Street End for the first time in over 20 years, with the foundations for that currently being piled in. That particular project is due to be completed by August 22.

But it is on the pitch that will take precedence once matches finally take place again.

The obvious hope is that the rumours linking manager Ian Evatt with the vacancy at Bolton Wanderers turn out to be unfounded and that the man who masterminded AFC’s promotion will take them through their first season in the EFL for 48 years.

Crucially, several of the key players who helped them out of the non-League wilderness had already agreed to new contracts long before the coronavirus pandemic struck.

That includes joint-top scorer John Rooney, who will get his first crack at the EFL since leaving Bury in 2014, wing-back Josh Kay, striker Dior Angus, midfielder Lewis Hardcastle and goalkeeper Joel Dixon.

Twenty-goal frontman Scott Quigley has entered the second year of his three-year deal, while the futures of Patrick Brough and Brad Barry had already been secured for the coming campaign when they signed on two-year contracts last summer.

The club’s retained list is expected to be announced by the end of the week, which will reveal whether the likes of Jason Taylor, Sam Hird and club captain Josh Granite will be remaining in south Cumbria.

What remains to be seen is whether Barrow will move to make the loan spells of Matt Platt, Tom White, Olly Dyson or Dan Jones permanent.

The arrival of Platt from Blackburn in September turned their defence into a much more cohesive unit, while White coming in two months later made their midfield the most competitive area in the squad.

As it stands, the Bluebirds will need some cover up front and at centre-back for their tilt at League Two but with budgets tight in the wake of COVID-19, we may not see a large level of turnover in playing staff during the rest of the summer.