New Barrow AFC boss Michael Jolley spent time trying to learn from the best as he prepared for a return to the dugout.

Jolley said he studied teams such as Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds as he sought to add to his bank of knowledge on the game.

That came in the year between Jolley’s departure from his first managerial post at Grimsby and his appointment at Holker Street last month.

The 43-year-old says he also used the time to “recharge and refresh” – leaving him hungry to make his mark with the Bluebirds.

“I’ve been looking for the right kind of opportunity, and there were a couple of other situations I had got very close with, but nothing really fitted on both sides as well as Barrow did,” Jolley said.

“In terms of the last 12 months... I’ve been in football about 16 years now and this is the first really sustained break I’ve had, because it’s always been the end of one season and starting to plan the next straight away.

“I’ve enjoyed trying to switch off, spending some time with my family – the Covid situation I’ve stayed close to my family and made sure they’re all ok.

“I’ve also tried to add to myself as a coach and person. I’ve read a lot, done quite a bit of research on the game, and I’ve studied football at the highest level – you look at teams like Bielsa’s Leeds team, I’ve spent a lot of time watching them, there are always things you can pick up and try and add to what you are as a coach.

“I’ve tried to use the time as productively as possible but it’s also important to switch off a little bit. I haven’t really done that for a long period of time prior to coming here.”

Former Burnley coach Jolley said he was itching for a return to the dugout and is keen to make the most of his opportunity with the Bluebirds.

He is charged with leading AFC to safety in their first season back in the Football League since 1972.

He added: “It’s a great challenge. Anyone that’s involved in football thrives on the competitive element and the cut and thrust of the game.

“I’m really enjoying being back involved again. I’ve had a period away from the game and that’s been good for me to recharge and refresh, get my energy levels back up, I’m really excited about this challenge at Barrow.

“I’ve come in at a really important time with the transfer window [now open] and there’s a lot to do quickly.

“I’ve got to make judgements on the existing squad and who can help us between now and the end of the season, and being conscious of bringing players in that can help us.

“There’s an awful lot to do, and games in there as well, so it’s a really busy time – but that’s what the challenge is. Let’s see how we can do.”