Meet the opponents, Barrow: Back in the big time and looking for an upset
- Credit: PA
Ipswich Town entertain League Two, Barrow, at Portman Road this afternoon in the FA Cup second round. MIKE BACON takes a look at Town's opponents.
TOUGH GOING FOR BLUEBIRDS
Barrow are in the middle of a disappointing run of results.
After making a decent start to their new life back in the Football League having won the National League last season, the Bluebirds, as they are known, are bottom of the current last six-game form guide, having picked up just two draws in their last six League Two outings.
They currently sit 20th place in League Two, four points above the two relegation positions.
However, many of their recent games have ended in narrow defeats. They lost at Sutton 0-1 last week, 0-2 at leaders Forest Green, 0-1 at home to Crawley and 1-2 at home to Rochdale.
Already this season they made it through one round of the Carabao Cup, before losing 0-6 at home to Villa. And they are still in the Papa John's Trophy.
- 1 World War Two-themed holiday accommodation plans at former airfield
- 2 Thatch roof of cottage 'fully alight' in village near Needham Market
- 3 Police called to anti-vaccine demonstration at Suffolk pharmacy
- 4 Matchday Live: Chaplin fires Town in front after clever move
- 5 New cafe toasts successful first week
- 6 McKenna hoping Portman Road routine changes can help 'find an edge'
- 7 Long delays on A12 after overturned tractor trailer
- 8 Ex Town striker Wickham links back up with Manning at MK Dons
- 9 'Two suspicious individuals' spotted on primary school roof
- 10 Patrols 'throughout the night' following dispersal order in Suffolk town
Cementing their place in League Two is surely their key goal this season, so today's clash at Portman Road is a pretty free hit for them. In the last round Barrow won at non-league Banbury 4-0, in a game show live on TV.
BACK IN THE BIG TIME
Barrow joined the Football League in 1921 and incredibly remained in the bottom tier (division four) until 1967 as a League club.
They were promoted in 1968 to the third division and finished eighth that year, before decline set in and by the 1971/72 season they were not only back in division four, but finished third bottom, eight points ahead of basement side Crewe.
In those days the bottom four faced re-election to retain their League status.
Stockport, Crewe and Northampton all received enough votes to remain in the League, but Barrow and Hereford (who were looking to come into the League from non-league and were part of the re-election process) ended up joint bottom in the votes with 26 each.
In a second ballot, Hereford gained 29 votes to Barrow's 20 and it was the Cumbrians who were relegated to non-league, with Hereford taking over their League mantle.
And that's where Barrow spent the next 48 seasons, winning the FA Trophy in 1990 and 2010.
They returned to the Football League as National League champions last season. Indeed, Barrow's promotion back to the Football League made them the first, and to date only, club to have been promoted back to the Football League having previously lost their League place.
MEET THE GAFFER
Mark Cooper was appointed manager of Barrow in May this year, signing a three-year deal with the club.
Cooper, son of former Leeds and England full-back, Terry Cooper, has plenty of managerial experience, having first managed a club he played for, Tamworth, back in 2004.
At Forest Green Rovers, where he managed for five years between 2016 and 2021, he oversaw their historic promotion to the Football League, but parted company with them, before taking over at Barrow.
And, after Barrow's recent 0-2 defeat on Cooper's return to Forest Green, the Barrow boss said this: “We can only aspire to be like Forest Green as a football club.
“The way that it’s run and the way that they do things, we can only aspire to that kind of standard. That’s where we need to be off the pitch.
“When the infrastructure’s right then you get results on the pitch.”
As a midfielder, Cooper played mostly in the lower leagues, but did have spells at both Birmingham City and Fulham.
HEAD TO HEAD
Town and Barrow have never met in any competition. Any Barrow fans who make the long journey from Cumbria to Suffolk today will have had to travel almost six hours in what is a 540-mile round trip!
WHAT THE BOOKIES SAY
Just as Crewe were big outsiders to pull off victory at Portman Road last Sunday, so Barrow are to do so today. Town are odds-on to win, while remembering what Oldham did at Portman Road in the last round, the draw doesn't look hopelessly unattractive.
TOWN WIN: 4/9: BARROW WIN: 6/1: THE DRAW: 7/2
DID YOU KNOW?
Dave Myers who has found fame as one half of television cookery duo the Hairy Bikers, along with Si King, was born in Barrow. He's 64 years old.