Brig ready for an early test of their credentials

Brig boss Neil Reynolds (photo: Ruth Hornby)
Brig boss Neil Reynolds (photo: Ruth Hornby)
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Bamber Bridge boss Neil Reynolds thinks he will learn a lot about his young side when they travel to South Shields on Saturday.

Both sides have won their opening three games in league and cup, Brig seeing off Brighouse Town 3-2 in the preliminary round of the FA Cup last time out.

The match is seen by some as a battle between potential title rivals.

Reynolds has made no secret of his desire to see Brig challenging at the sharp end of the NPL First Division North, while the Mariners have arrived in the league this season with plenty of momentum and big ambitions.

They won four trophies last season, including the FA Vase at Wembley and Division One of the Northern League after racking up 108 points.

A crowd of nearly 1,500 watched their 3-1 FA Cup win over Bridlington Town on Saturday, with former Sunderland and Middlesbrough midfielder Julio Arca likely to be in the squad to face Brig.

“When the fixtures were released we wanted to go into this game with momentum,” Reynolds said.

“I am excited to test ourselves against them and see where we are and hopefully get another three points.

“We are looking forward to it.

“After the game we will pretty much know where we are.

“It will be a brilliant game and a brilliant experience for our young squad.

“It is a young side with a couple of more experienced players like Jamie Milligan and it will be interesting to see how they respond to the occasion in front of a big crowd.

“It will be a big test of their mental toughness.

“Can we go up there and 
silence that crowd? I hope so.
We just need to go up there, play our football and see what happens.

“It has been called an early title battle.

“They are the favourites for promotion, we want to be battling up there, I’ve made no secret of my desire to challenge at the top but it will be a real test of what level we are on.

“We have nothing to lose and we are going there to win.”

Brig striker Brad Carsley is not expected to feature after sustaining concussion in the victory over Brighouse.

Play was stopped for 25 minutes after the former Longridge man cracked his head on a concrete perimeter fence.

Stu Vasey and Josh Heaton are also set to miss the trip to the North East.

He said: “Stu Vasey is on the road to recovery, as is Josh Heaton, and obviously there’s Brad too.

“But other than that I’ve got a fully fit squad to pick from.

“I will have to see what happens in training because I am going to have to trim the squad from the Brighouse game.”