Barrow AFC’s players have their chance to impress new manager David Dunn from today as they return for pre-season training.

After over four months away from Hopwood Hall, the Bluebirds have started to prepare properly for the start of their first season in the English Football League for 48 years, with the League Two campaign getting under way on September 12.

Ten players remain from the squad that earned promotion from the National League last season - 11 if you include centre-back Matt Platt, who made his loan move from Blackburn Rovers permanent last week.

It’s also a chance for the four new players to have signed up - Mike Jones, Luke James, Tom Beadling and James Jones - to stake their claim, while more are expected to join the group soon.

Dunn said: “There’s going to be good competition for places come September 12.

“They’ve had an excellent season, so hopefully there will be some kind of momentum, but to be honest I need to see that for myself as well and it gives them six weeks to impress.

“Although they’ve had a great season last year, I’ll be playing what I feel is the best team come September 12, regardless of what has happened before.

AFC’s pre-season schedule of friendlies is more of less finalised and will be made public by the club shortly - so far, an away match at FC United of Manchester is the only match confirmed.

Like every other League Two club, though, Barrow are thrilled to have a date to work towards after so many months of uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Dunn said: “It helps us in that we can now plan pre-season properly. It gives us a bit of closure, really, after everyone not knowing what they were doing, so now we’ve at least got that date.

“I’m looking forward to that and I’m looking forward to the whole of pre-season. I’m looking forward to getting to know all the players and see what characters are in there because I feel character is really important.

“Obviously, ability and how you play is also important, but I really like players with character.”