A 48-year dream of a Football League return for Barrow hangs in the balance after the National League clubs voted overwhelmingly to cut the 2019/20 season short.

Barrow, who have forged a close connection with Rovers in recent seasons, will end the season top of the pile, four points clear of second-placed Harrogate in the sole automatic promotion spot.

But whether that will see them promoted is now out of their hands, with National League clubs set to undergo a second vote to decide what outcomes from the 2019/20 season are reached.

The Bluebirds had Rovers pair Matty Platt and Tom White on loan, while former Under-23s captain Lewis Hardcastle made a permanent switch last season after an initial loan spell.

And Wales youth international Jack Vale, tied down to a long-term contract at Ewood Park through to 2023, signed for Ian Evatt’s season on loan in the weeks prior to the season being suspended.

In the end Vale never got a first taste of senior football, having been the source of interest from EFL clubs in January before that failed to materialise.

But White played 18 times since joining on loan in November, scoring twice, with the midfielder having made eight appearances for Rovers Under-23s side before making the loan switch.

Barrow had been keen to sign the former England C international from former club Gateshead prior to his Ewood Park switch where he signed a two-year deal, with Evatt finally landing his man on loan.

He posted on social media after the National League’s decision: “Definitely not the vision we had intended for the conclusion of the season. Just got to hope the hard work and success everyone at the club has helped create is rewarded. Saying I’ve loved my time at Barrow would be a ridiculous understatement. Thank you.”

Central defender Platt meanwhile, who has played three times for the Rovers first-team and spent the first half of last season on loan at Accrington Stanley, played 29 times in all.

Rovers had the option to recall the 22-year-old in January, but the clubs came to an agreement that he would see the season out at Holker Street.

“Just wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone at Barrow, from players to staff and of course the fans. Thoroughly enjoyed my time here and just hope we get what we deserve,” he wrote.

For the second successive summer, Rovers face a decision over the future of homegrown defender Platt whose deal at Ewood Park is coming to an end.

He signed a 12-month extension to his contract last summer, before being loaned to Barrow, and is one of a clutch of young central defenders coming through the ranks.

White meanwhile, has 12 months left to run on the two-year deal he agreed when signing from Gateshead.

Rovers have played pre-season friendlies at Barrow in two of the last three years, twice winning 2-1, and speaking after Vale’s move was confirmed, Tony Mowbray said: “We have a few players at Barrow and I think Jack will hopefully fit into that environment and that culture.

“Hopefully it will be a smooth transition for him to hopefully go and get some game time there.

“Barrow are doing exceptionally well this season so it’s a good opportunity for them to go and play some football.”