Rob Kelly has admitted that having fans back in Holker Street next season will be huge for Barrow AFC.

The caretaker boss says he was delighted to have helped achieve EFL safety after a season mostly played behind closed doors.

It means Bluebirds fans should be able to return in their numbers to watch Barrow’s second season back in the league as Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed.

And Kelly says fan power can be a big advantage to the club in 2021/22.

“I think it’s massive,” he said.

“A manager from another club came and spoke to me, and he knew Holker Street, he’d been up here and played as a non-league player.

“He said to me, ‘Rob, this place would be worth eight to 10 points to you, more than you’ve got’.

“That was interesting to hear from someone else.”

EFL chairman Rick Parry last week said things were on track for a return to “normality” with crowds next season.

Barrow’s survival means they have avoided the nightmare scenario of their historic return to the Football League being short-lived and largely being played behind closed doors.

Kelly said the community will be desperate to return to the Progression Solicitors’ Stadium and play a full part in the club’s new EFL era.

He added: “I’m of a generation that, with the football club I supported as a kid, I was part of that town. I wasn’t a remote supporter.

“You don’t pick your team, you’re handed it to you, that’s who you support. My dad went to watch Aston Villa in the old Third Division and that’s where he took me.

“I’m from that area and it was my club. I got on the bus to go and watch them.

“When we had the trial periods with the fans at Barrow this season it made such a difference.

“You could see what the football club means to the town – it’s an identity, and to have that status in the Football League…I’m just delighted for everyone, and the owners, board, supporters’ trust, all the fans.

“They’re from the area. It’s their club and I’m delighted we can have that opportunity come August.

“From the outset I said we had one agenda, to be in the EFL from May 8. No individual stuff.

“Everybody pitched into that same barrel. It was so important that come next August we’re kicking off in the Football League and they can have their day in the sun – but not just a day, a season.

“It’s an exciting time for the club, an opportunity to stabilise and move forward. That’s so important.”