Barrow boss Mark Cooper wants the club to 'aspire to be' like Forest Green Rovers.

Cooper hoped returning to his old stomping ground would turn his side’s poor fortunes around.

But Matt Stevens’ brace secured all three points for the league leaders – who Cooper managed for five years.

“We played some really good football,” stressed Cooper. “We can only aspire to be like Forest Green as a football club.

“The way that it’s run and the way that they do things, we can only aspire to that kind of standard. That’s where we need to be off the pitch.

“When the infrastructure’s right then you get results on the pitch.”

A second defeat in a row saw the Bluebirds’ worrying winless run stretch to eight games.

Cooper’s squad is riddled with injuries and the latest blow was an illness that ran through the rest of the squad.

The Cumbrian club had two keepers among their substitutes, with player-coach James Taylor one of three available outfield substitutes.

And Cooper added: “Of course you’re concerned by the results. The players have to put up with so much.

“If you look at our bench we had three outfield subs. One of them’s a player-coach. We have two goalkeepers on the bench.

“It’s difficult for me to be too upset with the players. They’ve given everything they’ve got.

“We should have been in front at half time. We need people tapping that ball in when it comes across the six-yard box.

“I was really pleased in the first half after Saturday.

“We lost Connor Brown in the warm up, he was too ill. That affected us a little bit.

“Second half we ran out of steam. The boys are running on empty.

They just couldn’t keep up the same impetus in the second half.

“We were the better team in the first half. But when you come to teams at the top you need to score and put them on the back foot.

“We let them off the hook and we didn’t make it uncomfortable for them.”

The visitors missed some great chances to lead in the first half.

And Stevens made them pay with his second-half double.

Cooper added: “I said at half time we’d have to start well because they would be frustrated and we didn’t clear the ball from our half for the first five minutes.

“There was a blatant foul on Paul Farman when he punched the ball out and from the resultant corner they score.

“We had chances to clear the ball deep into their half and we didn’t. “We just passed the ball into midfield and that allowed them to attack us.

“It’s probably down to tiredness. The second half was then tough.”