Clark sacked as Barrow Head Coach

James Gordon

Barrow have replaced head coach Dave Clark with former Oldham boss Steve Deakin taking over on a caretaker basis.

Clark, who led the Raiders to promotion from National League 2 last season, has guided Barrow to 2nd in the Championship and a Northern Rail Cup Final. It was the club’s first final in 26 years, but they fell to a 34-18 loss against Widnes.

But that has been deemed not good enough by ambitious chairman Des Johnston, and Clark’s assistant Dean Marwood has also been relieved of his duties. Clark, however, will remain at the club in his role as community development officer, and will assist Deakin.

A statement said: “Following meetings at the weekend between chairman Des Johnston and the head coach and further board meetings in the week, the mutual decision has been taken for Dave Clark and his assistant Dean Marwood to leave their positions with immediate effect.

“The board of directors would like to place on record their extreme and sincere thanks to both men for all their hard work over the last two years.

“They have proved to be very professional, conscientious and hard-working and we wish them both the best in their future careers.

“Steve Deakin will take up the role of first team coach on a caretaker basis for the rest of the season.

“He will take charge of all rugby league matters as of Wednesday.

“Dave Clark will stay at the club in the position of assistant coach for the rest of the season.

“The post of coach will be advertised in the local, national and international press at the end of the season.”

Johnston himself admitted it had been a hard decision for everyone involved.

He said: “It is very sad for myself and the board to have to make this decision, but we have to make hard decisions.

“Myself and Dave have made this decision in the best interest of Barrow RL.

“Dave Clark has tremendous qualities of decency, dedication, integrity and loyalty and I have come to regard him as a friend.

“I have also had some great times with Dean Marwood and I am sad to see him go.

“It’s a sad day, but I am also pleased to have Steve Deakin coming in for the last six games and hopefully into the play-offs as well.

“We will all be working together now as hard as ever to push Barrow RL forward for the rest of this season and into the future.”