Bamber Bridge boss Jamie Milligan has challenged his men to stay at the top of the table

Bamber Bridge should relish the thrill of the chase after hitting the front in the NPL Premier Division title race.

Friday, 3rd December 2021, 8:00 am

That is the view of boss Jamie Milligan who watched his team go top of the table following the 1-0 win over Basford United at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.

Brig leapfrogged above the more fancied and heavily resourced Buxton, South Shields and previous leaders Matlock Town to lead the division by a point.

To see his men looking down on everybody else with the Christmas period approaching is something Milligan did not envisage at the start of the campaign.

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Sheldon Green in action for Brig against Basford last weekend (photo:Ruth Hornby)

But he has urged his men to enjoy the moment and has challenged his players to stay out in front for as long as possible.

“I said to my assistant John Hill at the start of this week that I probably would have been happy to be in and around the play-offs at this stage of the season,” said Milligan.

“For us to be top of the league, it’s just testament to how well the boys have done and how hard they have worked.

“We have got there now and I have said to the boys, ‘Let’s try to stay there for as long as we can, let’s keep being chased by other teams’.

“We can keep putting the pressure on the other teams around us because teams like Buxton, South Shields and Matlock, they are expected to be up there and we’re not.

“The boys know there’s no pressure on them – they just need to go out and keep doing what they are doing.

“Keep playing with the freedom that have been playing with and working hard.”

This weekend, Brig travel to Radcliffe, who currently lie just below mid-table but with an outside chance of forcing their way into the play-off picture.

The two teams drew 1-1 earlier in the season at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium and Milligan remembers it being a tough encounter.

“I thought they were a really good side when we played them before,” he said. “Obviously the manager has changed. Bobby Grant has come in. He’s somebody I know really well. He’s doing a great job and they have been on a good run so it’s going to be a tough game.”

Milligan has a fully fit squad to choose from this weekend, barring striker Fin Sinclair-Smith who is still struggling with an ankle problem.

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