Bamber Bridge boss Jamie Milligan fears for future of season amid rising COvid-19 cases among playing squads

Bamber Bridge boss Jamie Milligan admits he wouldn’t be surprised if the Northern Premier League season was suspended for a period of time.

By Craig Salmon
Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 12:30 pm

The rising cases of Covid-19 and the prevalence of the new Omicron variant as put clubs up and down the country on high alert.

In the Premier League and the Football League, several games have been postponed over the past month due to a high number of cases of the virus amongst playing squads.

And in the National League –the step above the Northern Premier League – games have been called-off this week due to Covid-19.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Bamber Bridge boss Jamie Milligan (photo:Ruth Hornby)

Milligan revealed three of his players have tested positive for coronavirus over the past week or so with Craig Carney set to be unavailable for the Christmas fixture against Lancaster City at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium on Monday as he will be isolating.

Fin Sinclair-Smith and Mateusz Hewelt were missing from the game against Gainsborough Trinity at the weekend but their isolation period is set to end in time for the fixture against the Dolly Blues.

Although the virus has yet to cause mayhem with the fixture programme at Brig’s level, there is every possibility games will fall foul if Covid-19 takes hold.

“It’s a nightmare because last Thursday, I had Mat the goalkeeper, Fin Sinclair-Smith and then now I have got Craig Carney – they have all tested positive for it.

“It’s not looking good. I can see the country going into lockdown and even if we don’t go into lockdown, I can see the season being suspended for a few weeks. We have a squad of about 18 but if we get about five players who come down with it then that puts us down to a squad of 13 and we’ll be stretched.

“We could still play the games and at our level with that, they would probably make us do it but it wouldn’t be great.”

Milligan said a number of his players have been vaccinated although it is an individual’s choice as to whether they have been jabbed.

“I don’t know where it is all heading,” Milligan said. “There is talk about the players having to be jabbed.

“I know most of our lads are vaccinated but there’s a few who aren’t and it is each to their own. I can’t be saying to them, ‘Listen you need to get jabbed’.

“The fact is they don’t have to – it’s their choice at the end of the day.”

Brig have stepped up their protocols around matchday in a bid to keep the virus at bay.

He said: “At home games, the starting XI will be in the changing rooms and the subs won’t be in there until they have left.

“The lads reported half an hour before the game on Saturday for a lateral flow test before they got on the coach. The fans which travelled with us also had to and we all had to sit separately.”

Support us and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest football stories and new puzzles every day. With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.