Ian Watts Takes a Look at Barrow
One last pre-season clash then, before County prepare for their first ever game against Spennymoor Town.
Saturday's opponents are probably the one's that County would most realistically like to emulate over the next few years. Since climbing back into the National League Premier division in 2015 they have established themselves and built their side up to one that considers a promotion challenge a reasonable prospect. Those two seasons saw them finish 11th and 7th.
One policy decision that has played its part in the progress Barrow have made is the switch of their training base to Hopwood Hall near Rochdale. This has allowed them to attract players from a wider area of the country, their location as one of the outposts of football having previously deterred players. Last summer they returned there after a year away as the managers were wary of the injuries that the squad picked up at their new base, which were felt to be directly related to the artificial surfaces that were used every training session.
Their most recent friendly saw Barrow win 2-1 at Lancaster City. Two quick-fire first half goals gave Barrow the win.
First David Fitzpatrick (20 mins) - not the former County youngster - worked his way past the City defence to create an opening and fired home. Harry Panayiotou (30 mins) then used his pace to run in on goal and got round the Dolly Blues keeper to make it 2-0.
I have not been able to track down details of the Barrow team from this game, but the men who recorded a 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest U23 last Saturday was:
Stuart Moore, Trialist, Dan Jones, Trialist, Jimmy Dunne, Moussa Diarra, Bedsenté Gomis, Alex-Ray Harvey Jordan White, Harry Panayiotou, Asa Hall. Substitutes: David Fitzpatrick, Bradley Bauress, Liam Hughes, Thierry Audel, Richie Bennett, plus three trialists.
Gomis, scored the Barrow goal.
The last of Barrow's ex-Hatters, Paul Turnbull, moved on in the summer , switching to Chester for the coming season. Another man who will not be facing County is highly rated forward Richard Bennett as he was sold to League 2 Carlisle United earlier this week after the Brunton Park side triggered a release clause in his contract.
|Richard Bennett now of Carlisle|
Since then Barrow have signed on one of the trialists from the Forest game in French midfielder Donovan Makoma who was most recently with RC Lens.
So it's 90 more minutes of action, against a side that should provide a good test, then a week of training before County face the first Conference North challenge with that trip to one of the lesser fancied teams, albeit one that have mostly retained last season's players and will still be very positive going after promotion.
These brief previews may return at times during the season but for now that's all from me.
Editor's footnote: I would like to thank Ian for the excellence of his pre-season previews, which I know have given pleasure to the many County supporters who have read them. Thanks Ian ! hedgegrower