The Non-League Football Paper

Barrow must provide details on Holker Steet expansion if they want to compete in play-offs

BARROW have been told they have three weeks to prove they can increase the capacity of their Holker Street ground if they want to compete in the National League play-offs.

The Bluebirds, currently eighth and just four points outside the play-offs, are fighting to be part of the end of season shake-up but are one of the outsiders for promotion on NetBet.

They’ve won only one of their last five games and they now face another obstacle off the pitch after being informed they must prove they could increase the capacity of Holker Street to the required 5,000.

The Cumbrians have been given until April 6 by the Football League to provide plans which have been agreed on by Barrow Borough Council.

“We need to make this thing happen and quickly,” Barrow owner Paul Casson told the North-West Evening Mail.

“We have a capacity of 4,400 and it needs to be more than 5,000. There are a whole sequence of steps that need to take place – we have to go in with a design to show where we will increase the capacity, then we have to go to the council for them to re-certify the ground if this work was carried out.

“We’ve got to get this done in the next three weeks to keep the dream alive until the end of the season as we keep playing.”

Chief executive Austin Straker is confident the club can rally around and get things in place so they will be allowed to compete in the play-offs if they finish in the top five.

“For many years, the club have said ‘if we are successful, these are the alterations we would make’. In the past, that has always been satisfactory and they have accepted that,” Straker said.

“What’s happened this year is that they have tightened up on the proof and verification sections. We’ve sent through the alterations we would carry out on the understanding we have always been told it would raise the capacity over 5,000.

“But they have come back at the last minute – and they have been very supportive – saying they need us to prove we have designs we are willing to carry out and that those designs would increase the capacity to where we say it will.

“The Football League and National League wouldn’t want to stop us competing, so it is up to us to get the figures together – which we thought we had done, but we have to go that step further.”

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