Chairman Paul Hornby says Barrow AFC’s summer has been 'like night and day' compared with last year as they aim for a more successful League Two season.

Hornby says the arrival of boss Mark Cooper and No2 Richard Dryden, followed by a proactive close-season in the market, has put the Bluebirds in a better position.

It is a stark contrast to this time last year, according to the Holker Street chief, with the new campaign now just over a week away.

Hornby, speaking at a club Q&A, said: “We wanted experienced managers, and they don’t come more experienced than these two.

“Mark’s got nearly 700 games as manager, won National League North, has been promoted from the National League and been in the League One play-offs and League Two play-offs.

“When you speak to him and get to know him, he’s an out-and-out winner. You can see that desire. That’s important for us.

“It’s night and day to last year, when we were recruiting late on. This year we’ve recruited early, and tried to be a lot more organised.”

Cooper’s side head to Southport tomorrow for their final pre-season friendly.

Preparations will then be stepped up for the start of the League Two campaign, with AFC heading to Stevenage for their opening game.

A host of summer signings are competing for places in the opening side, while Cooper remains on the hunt for another striker.

With seven new faces already having joined, Cooper has stressed it was crucial to get the right calibre of people as well as players who can improve the side.

“For me, recruitment this year was purely on character first and foremost,” he said.

“The boys we’ve brought in are really good characters.”

Assistant boss Dryden also emphasised that point.

“What we don’t want is characters whose head drops, get the hump, one bad apple starts and it starts growing,” he said.

“With what we’ve seen so far, we’re happy. We’ll keep going. It’s a big squad, and for that first game you’ve got to choose 11, so there might be few knocks on the manager’s door on that Monday morning.”

Fans, meanwhile, have until 4pm today to snap up season tickets. More than 1,100 have already been sold, the club say.