Bamber Bridge boss Jamie Milligan pleased to have competition for places even if it gives him a selection headache

Bamber Bridge manager Jamie Milligan admits his entire squad is giving him plenty of selection posers this season.

By Craig Salmon
Friday, 22nd October 2021, 8:02 am
Updated Friday, 22nd October 2021, 8:04 am

The Brig boss made six changes for the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy clash against AFC Blackpool in midweek from the team that started against Stalybridge Celtic in the NPL Premier Division on Saturday.

Brig registered their ninth league victory of the season in the 2-1 win over Celtic and the much-changed side continued the winning momentum with a 6-2 thrashing in the Trophy, albeit against lower-league opponents. Milligan, though, was pleased with the way his side dealt with the Seasiders and is keen that when players get their opportunity, they grasp it with both hands.

With the visit of Ashton Town to the Sir Tom Finney Stadium this weekend, Milligan admits he has plenty to think about when he formulates his squad.

Boss Jamie Milligan shares a joke with Matt Dudley following the win over Stalybridge Celtic (Photo:Ruth Hornby)

“From day one when I came, I said to the lads that when they get their chance in the team, they have to take it,” said Milligan, whose men have now been drawn against Chorley at Irongate in the next round of the Trophy.

“I have always said if you play well, you have a good chance of keeping your place,” he said. “The lads know now that every single position there is competition for places.

“I have said that it doesn’t matter if I have known them for 10 years or 10 minutes, if they are not doing it then somebody else will come along to take their place in the team.

“As a manager that’s what you want – competition for places and everybody fighting to get in the team.”

The win over Celtic means Brig have opened up a four-point gap between themselves in fourth spot and Warrington Town, who are one spot outside the play-offs.

It was not all plain sailing for Brig on Saturday as they found themselves 1-0 down at the interval but they turned things around in the second half with goals from Rob Apter and Fin Sinclair-Smith.

“I thought we were quite comfortable first 10 minutes and I think the lads got into the mindset that it was going to be a comfortable afternoon and they would be able to just knock the ball around,” said Milligan.

“We stopped running and stop pressing and they came into it. They got the goal and we were up against it at half-time. So we changed a few things. The lads just needed to run around a bit more and show more energy and I thought second half we were brilliant.”

Milligan has been boosted by the news that influential midfielder Mark Yeates’ red card against Atherton Collieries has been rescinded and he will be free to face Ashton.

Town are currently languishing in the bottom reaches of the table having picked up just two wins from their opening 14 league games.

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