CALLUM JONES (@Goaldust) has picked out a National League NAP for Tuesday night’s action.
Barrow v Gateshead | Tuesday 19.45
It’s amazing the difference a change in manager can do. Languishing in 16th position in the National League, Gateshead decided Malcolm Crosby’s time had come and sacked him after a mere five months in charge.
They needed to replace him smartly. Remember, this was side that were quietly fancied to threaten the play-off places this season.
They were smart. Former Halifax boss Neil Aspin came in, a man from the area who started his esteemed playing career at the club and he’s made a big difference. Since his appointment in late November, the Heed’s league form reads W5-D1-L2.
Aspin has shored up a previously leaky defence and, discounting their 5-1 defeat against Woking, they’ve conceded only two goals in his other seven games in charge.
Wins against Eastleigh, and most recently Grimsby, have shown this run is no fluke and they now sit in ninth place in the league – only three points from the top-five and a play-off place.
Barrow, on the other hand, have their sights set much lower. They’ve actually acquitted themselves very well since winning promotion to the National League, and sit nine points clear from the drop zone at the time of writing.
The visitors are, however, a model of inconsistency, and their form since 19 December 19 reads W1-D3-L3. They have bagged four points from their last two though, including a plucky draw at Woking on Saturday.
One thing Barrow have done consistently is find the back of the net – they’ve notched at least once in every one of their 13 home games so far this season. They have only drawn three of those games, so it’s very much a case of one or the other in their own back yard.
With all that in mind, it’s quite a tough one to call, which actually makes things much easier for me. Gateshead have been excellent in recent weeks and although Barrow have proven to be a tough proposition on their day, there is no way Neil Aspin’s side should be as big as they are to win here.
The Heed face Dover, Eastleigh, Cheltenham and Tranmere in the next six weeks, so know a victory here is a must. The away side to win is most definitely the value play in this one at 3/1 with Bet365.
Barrow v Gateshead – Gateshead to win (3/1 Bet365)
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