BARROW AFC will be a 'No Parkin' zone next season after the club missed out on their 'marquee' forward signing.

The Bluebirds had hoped to unveil former Forest Green Rovers front-man Jon Parkin on Monday after productive talks last week between manager Paul Cox, the player and his agent.

But – for the second time this close-season after defender Zak Mills joined Grimsby – a Football League club swooped in at the last minute to deny Barrow as he chose instead to join Newport County.

Cox confirmed Parkin was the 'marquee' player he had highlighted at the weekend as being set to come in, but he is already in talks with another striker with huge experience at National League level and above.

“We were set to sign him on Monday,” the AFC manager said of Parkin. “I don't know how it came about, but I got a phone call from the agent and from Jon himself saying he had had an offer from Newport and he was going to follow that up. We had agreed terms and we were set to sign on the Monday.

“This has happened a number of times this season already. It's not something we are going to get down about, not something we are going to cry over – we just move on.”

Cox also confirmed the club had submitted a bid for Lincoln City's Matt Rhead – thought to be of a similar amount to the £10,000 AFC were willing to pay for him during the January transfer window.

After Lincoln took time to respond to the initial contact, that move is also 'dead in the water', with Barrow pursuing other options to strengthen their front line.

Cox recognises that the calibre of player AFC are going after means they are competing with bigger clubs to secure signatures now, and said: “We're competing now not just against Conference North sides, but Football League sides – League One and League Two sides for some of our players. If we play at Holker Street, there will be eight to 10 scouts there looking at our potential recruits.”