Crowe eager for fairytale FA Cup run

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Bamber Bridge boss Neil Crowe is confident his current squad can achieve the club’s best FA Cup run in years.

Brig travel to face NPL Division One South outfit Stocksbridge Park Steels in the first FA Cup preliminary round tomorrow.

Bamber Bridge striker Stuart Vasey scoring against Radcliffe Borough

Bamber Bridge striker Stuart Vasey scoring against Radcliffe Borough

Crowe’s men bounced back from an opening-day defeat against Droylsden and are currently on a three-match unbeaten run in the NPL First Division North.

And Crowe has challenged his side to stage their best cup run in eight years and progress to the next round.

He said: “A good FA Cup run means good prize money but it is also a distraction from the week in, week out, of the league.

“It is good to have a good cup run, it is about eight years since we have had a decent run – we got to the fourth qualifying round and got knocked out by Histon.

“It would be nice to have a good run, not just because of the financial rewards – you get to play higher teams and for the lads, it is good for them to pit their wits against higher players.

“On paper it is a game that we can win and we should win. Stocksbridge’s pitch is a nice surface to play on so it will suit our passing game – we are going all out to win the game.

Crowe’s squad is taking shape and he is pleased with new additions youngsters Danny Leigh and Joseph Mullen.

Leigh made his debut as a substitute in Brig’s 1-1 draw with Radcliffe Borough on Monday and Mullen – who is on loan from AFC Fylde – started his first match for the club in central midfield in place of the departed Curtis Thompson.

But Andy Griffiths has left the club and Luke Atherton has retired.

Crowe said: “Danny is a good player – we couldn’t sign him at the start of the season but as people have left we’ve been able to snap him up.

“Luke has had to leave the club again. He’s had a couple of bad injuries in the last four years that have made him miss large chunks of work and he is self employed, so he can’t take that risk.

“George Bowyer is going to be out for a few weeks and so will Nathan Parish.

“It is a tough ask for non-league players because people had to work on the Sunday – to play Saturday and again on Monday is why we are picking up little niggles. But everyone is in the same boat.”