PAUL Cox is confident his new back-room staff will improve Barrow AFC on and off the field.

Cox has made four appointments in the wake of the departures of coach Alex Meechan, sports therapist Dan Anderton and strength and conditioning coach Paddy Maher.

The most prominent of the new appointments sees experienced former Lincoln City and Macclesfield Town manager Gary Simpson brought in as assistant boss.

The 54-year-old met with the Bluebirds players for the first time in training at Lancaster University yesterday.

He was joined there by returning physio Sean Riley – who had departed Holker Street in the summer when the club switched to a full-time structure, but who has now returned – while Paul Ogden has been brought in as head scout and Ben Marvin as a technical sports analyst.

Both Simpson and Riley will work for AFC on a full-time basis, with Ogden and Marvin – who has worked on game analysis for Barrow since Cox’s arrival – employed part-time.

Cox is happy to have Simpson as his new right-hand man, believing he will bring valuable experience to the club.

“I go back quite a number of years with Gary,” he said. “We’ve known each other for a number of years.

“He was assistant under Keith Alexander at Macclesfield, he’s had roles himself as manager at Lincoln and Macclesfield and he’s very experienced in the game.

“He has a mountain of knowledge and I think it’s a really positive acquisition for the football club.

“We are both totally different personalities.

“This is the first time we have worked together, but we have known each other for a number of years.

“I think the main ingredient was that we both know how the other works. That’s the main thing for me – Gary will know my strengths and my weaknesses and vice-versa.

“It should hopefully be a very good partnership in the coming months/years.”

Riley’s return comes less than a year after he departed Barrow due to a conflict between the new full-time set-up and his ability to work in private practice.

Those issues have now been resolved, and Cox was happy to have a man who spent four years working under managers Dave Bayliss, Darren Sheridan and Darren Edmondson, as part of his team.

“Sean is another positive appointment for the football club with his experience as a physio,” said the Barrow boss. “He has been in that role for a number of years now, both in football and in his own practice. What Sean comes with is local contacts with local surgeons etc, which I think will help the club with injuries and players in the future who will need operations and stuff like that.

“We had spoken Sean about the full-time nature of the job and he is able to take that on now. His circumstances have changed and he has tweaked a few things in his day-to-day living and working life.”

He added: “They are two excellent additions for Barrow.

“The players met them this morning and there are positive signs ahead.”