Barrow AFC manager Ian Evatt will be pleased to turn his mind back to football matters tomorrow when his side welcome Solihull Moors to Holker Street in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup.

That’s not just because they go into the tie off the back of seven straight wins that has kept them above the Midlanders, whose own form has really picked up recently, in the National League table.

It is also down to matters off the pitch being the main talking point in the past week, following the controversial postponement of last Saturday’s match against Dover Athletic, whose kitman was needlessly verbally abused in the tunnel in the aftermath.

The Bluebirds also rebuffed interest in Evatt after AFC Fylde made an approach for him, as they try to fill their managerial vacancy, caused by their sacking of Dave Challinor.

Evatt said: “It’s been a strange kind of week, to be honest, and I must say it’s been difficult.

“There have been a lot of distractions; obviously, we’ve had the stuff bubbling in the background with me, there’s the stuff that happened from Saturday and the fall-out from that.

“It’s been a strange kind of week, but we need to make sure that we keep focused, keep our heads in the game, keep our confidence, keep our momentum because we know it’s going to be a really difficult game.

“Since we played Solihull last month, they’ve been on a good run themselves. They’ve got themselves back into the play-off picture in the National League.

“We have to make sure we keep our values, keep our performance levels high and try and get the right result for the football club.”

Evatt is keen on going on a cup run this season after losing out at the first hurdle in both the FA Cup and FA Trophy last time out, and the clash with Solihull is set to be one of the ties of the round, as it brings together the teams who are fourth and sixth in the National League.

Tim Flowers’ side will be a different prospect from the insipid outfit who rolled over in the league game at Holker Street last month, meaning reaching the first round proper for the first time in three years will be no easy task.

Evatt said: “That was the second game in our run and, I’ve mentioned many times, the way we played at the start of the season wasn’t much different from how we’re playing now.

“We were playing really well, but we were just making mistakes in both boxes. That’s changed, but the one thing we have been doing really well, which has pleased me, is the transition between out of possession in possession.

“We’re getting that balance right at the moment, the way we’re working to hunt the ball in packs and then we are being cool, calm and composed in possession and it’s difficult to do that at full tilt, so the players are doing very well in terms of managing that scenario.”

Evatt is pleased a line has been drawn under the Dover game, now feelings have been allowed to calm and apologies have been made to their kitman, Richard Harvey.

“It was tit for tat and it was emotional and there was no real need for it, to be honest,” Evatt said.

“I played a part in that and I’ve got to learn sometimes to keep my mouth shut and withhold my feelings, but I’m very much a heart-on-my-sleeve, say I what I feel needs to be said sort of character.”