Barrow AFC are using a rare week without a midweek game to recharge for the League Two run-in.

The Bluebirds do not play again until Good Friday when they host Newport County, giving them almost a full week to prepare after the disappointment of Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Stevenage.

And with a crucial period of the season coming up and his players looking to get back to the fine form which lifted them out of the relegation zone, caretaker manager Rob Kelly was grateful for the opportunity for his players to 'freshen' up.

"We plan our schedule a month ahead, and it’s always subject to change – it has to be – but this week we have an opportunity to breathe for a day or two," he said.

"It's a chance for the players – certainly those who've played, and the staff too, because they've worked hard as we all should – to make the most of this time.

"It allows that little bit of thinking time.

"Not too much, because we don’t want to overthink things, but certainly it's a chance to freshen yourself up, not just physically but mentally.

"We’re with each other as a group a lot at the moment.

"It’s like being in a relationship, or a marriage – sometimes that can put a strain on people when you are on top of each other all the time.

"We see each other more than we see our families at the moment.

"But that’s how it is, we’re privileged to be in professional football, and we have to work hard for that to continue."

This Friday's match against seventh-placed County will be followed by a trip to struggling Colchester, who the Bluebirds drew 1-1 with in September.

The fixtures start a hectic run of eight matches in April which will decide whether the efforts of the players and staff will be rewarded with Football League survival.

Despite having lost their last two games, Kelly's team are still on their best run of form this campaign with 12 points from their last six.

And they encounter a Newport team who have also lost their last two fixtures, while Colchester are winless in seven and have taken three points just once since December 8 – when they beat Barrow's Cumbrian neighbours Carlisle United 2-1 on March 2.

Barrow are three points clear of the bottom two.