PAUL Cox has poached a second Barrow AFC player to join him at new club Guiseley.

Having signed Alex-Ray Harvey for a £10,000 fee last month, Cox has now signed Liam Hughes.

Both Harvey and Hughes put in transfer requests at Holker Street not long after Cox – who departed the club in August – was appointed at Guiseley.

While Harvey was signed almost straight-away, Hughes – who started only once in the five games Cox was in charge for at the start of the season before his resignation – attracted no immediate interest from any clubs.

However, with Hughes having recently come back to both form and fitness, the Lions have now bought the services of the 25-year-old South Yorkshireman as well.

Hughes featured in new manager Ady Pennock's first two games in charge at Barrow, starting in the centre of defence and impressing on both occasions.

But he was unavailable for their last two games, the wins over Eastleigh and Gateshead, with the club citing flu as the reason behind his absence.

Pennock wished the departed midfielder well, and said: “It's a decision Liam made. He wanted to be closer to his family, and I would like to wish him all the best for the future – except for when he players against us, I don't want him to do well then!”

He added: “We had discussions, but I want to keep them close to my chest and in-house. At the end of the day, he wanted to be close to his family, and I think it was the right move for everybody involved.

“I want people here to be 100 per cent committed. It's nothing against Liam, but we have to have people who are 100 per cent committed, and he really didn't commit to that.”

Hughes arrived at Barrow last summer, having first been a target for Cox during the previous January transfer window, when he instead went to Inverness Caledonian Thistle from Cambridge United.

He made an instant impression, scoring on debut in the 1-0 win against Dover Athletic, and was a regular for much of the season.

In total, he made 45 starts for the Bluebirds and six substitute appearances, scoring three goals.

Having lost Hughes, Pennock admitted he would likely have to go looking for a new face to add to the AFC ranks, and said: “We've been okay for the last couple of games, but I', sure that I will be looking for a replacement.”