Bamber Bridge boss Jamie Milligan looking for home rule in season opener
The six-month football hiatus brought about due to the Covid-19 pandemic has definitely not been a pleasant experience for Bamber Bridge.
The shutdown of football in March, which ultimately led to the cancellation of the 2019-20 season, has caused uncertain times at the Sir Tom Finney stadium.
Shorn of matchday income along with the temporary closure of the clubhouse has meant the club has had to tighten its belt in all areas, including wage cuts for the players.
But if there is one ray of sunshine to come out of the enforced break is that it has given boss Jamie Milligan the opportunity to stamp his mark on the club.
Installed as manager at the end of last year, his main task initially was to cajole the players into form and away from the bottom reaches of the NPL Premier Division after a dire first few months of the season.
That is something which he was able to successfully do with Brig rising to a safe mid-table spot.
With an extended summer behind him, Milligan has had time to get his ideas and ethos across to the players – and is hoping his men can start the new campaign off in style when they welcome Matlock Town to Irongate this weekend.
Milligan said: “Over pre-season we have been using different shapes and working through a tactical plan for when we have the ball and when we don’t have the ball.
“I will never change from the way I play. I will always try to play the right way.
“I know people say you need to do it differently sometimes which I kind of agree with for certain times during a game.
“But I said to the lads from the first minute I came to the club that I’ll never change the way I want to play. I don’t want to stand on the sidelines and watch the ball getting lumped forward.”
In terms of arrivals, Milligan has enticed former Chester captain Scott Burton to the club and this week swooped for Curzon Ashton ace Isaac Sinclair.
They are expected to be in the Brig line-up for the visit of Matlock. “It should be a good game against Matlock,” said Milligan, who watched his team draw 2-2 with a Salford City XI on Tuesday night.
“They were low down last season but they have spent a few quid and brought in some decent players.
“It’s going to be strange for me because it will be the first opening game of the season in 20 years I haven’t played in.”
Meanwhile, Chorley continue to work towards the start of their season in the National League North.
The Magpies take on Stockport County at Victory Park at the weekend in a behind-closed-doors friendly.
The two teams have enjoyed a fierce rivalry in recent years – although there was a break last season after Jamie Vermiglio’s men won promotion to the National League.
The two teams will face each other once more in this campaign after Chorley’s immediate relegation.