Michael Jolley says Barrow AFC must not dwell on the league table as they bid to further boost their survival chances at Southend today.

The Bluebirds are in Essex to take on League Two’s bottom-placed side (Roots Hall, 3pm).

The game is Jolley’s second in charge and gives 21st-placed Barrow the chance to land a blow on one of their rivals.

Jolley, though, said it is more important that his side focus on their performance levels rather than worry about league standings with so much of the campaign to go.

Asked if the game was a six-pointer, the AFC boss said: “I think it’s a bit early to be making a call like that.

“There’s enough games for both Southend and Barrow to move well up the table, between now and the end of the season.

“A lot can change in a short space of time. What we must do is probably spend a bit less time looking at the league table and more time just focusing on our performance, and doing all we can to get good results in the 25 games we’ve got left.

“There are plenty of points to play for and we need to get the results we’re looking for.”

Barrow are hoping to extend their unbeaten run to four games today as they make a belated return to action following last weekend’s postponement of the Exeter home game.

They face a Shrimpers side whose own form has also improved recently, Southend suffering just one defeat in their last six and boss Mark Molesley making December’s manager of the month shortlist.

They sit four points adrift of the Bluebirds. Jolley said: “If you just were to look at the form table over the last six to eight games, they’d probably be a top six to 10 team.

“I think the Southend we’ll face [today] is very different to the Southend from earlier in the season. It’s a vital game for both clubs, both clubs are in the same part of the table and the result will be all-important.

“We know the importance of the game. We give Southend the respect they deserve but equally we try and go to get the three points.

“Our players are excited to get cracking again. In our last away match we had a really good victory over at Port Vale with a clean sheet, and that type of performance was really positive.

“They’re keen to get back out there and show what they can do.”

Jolley, meanwhile, says he has used the enforced break from action to try and put more of his stamp on things on the training ground.

After the Exeter postponement he said: “There has been a benefit to that – as a new manager coming in it’s given me a little bit more breathing space to get some of my ideas into the players.

“I wouldn’t say we’re all the way there yet in terms of them completely mastering what I’m looking for, but equally we’ve had a good week’s training, I’ve explained how I want the team to play, what the identity of the team needs to be, we’ve done some work on that and that’s been good.

“Obviously the proof is in the pudding, and we need to show up [today] and give a good performance.”

Asked specifically what he is trying to address on the training pitch at Egerton, Jolley added: “My observation of the team is that we play good football, in possession we pose a real threat going forward, and I’m trying to make sure we get the balance right between keeping that threat that we have but also not giving anything too easy away and making ourselves compact and hard to break down at the right times.

“It’s a trade-off, a case of getting the right balance. That’s the direction of travel – we want to keep more clean sheets than we have over the course of the season so far, but we also want to keep going with our goalscoring which has been pretty good.”