Bamber Bridge boss Neil Reynolds reckons his team face their toughest test of the season this evening when they travel to beleaguered derby rivals Lancaster City.
The Dolly Blues have endured a wretched start to the new NPL Premier Division campaign after failing to pick up a single point from their opening five games.
Brig by contrast are riding high on the crest of wave after promotion, picking up eight points from four games – the only team left unbeaten in the division.
Reynolds admits his heart goes out to City boss and good friend Phil Brown, but there will be no room for sentiment especially as he believes Lancaster will view tonight’s game as a great way to kick-start their season.
“I want to see Lancaster get off the mark although I don’t want to see them get off the mark against ourselves, ” said Reynolds.
“I have no doubt that Lancaster will turn things around. Phil is a friend of mine and he’s a good manager. He just needs time, they are having a blip at the moment. We have all been there
“I have no doubt that this will be our hardest game of the season so far. Everybody may look at the league table and say Bamber Bridge win.
“But the form table goes out of the window in a derby.
“I am sure Browny will have his team revved up for it.
“It’s a fixture we missed last season after Lancaster got promoted and so it’s a game we are looking forward to.”
Reynolds revealed there has been an element of surprise at the way his men have adapted to life in the Premier Division.
They have picked up draws against both Grantham Town and Warrington Town who both finished in the play-off positions last season.
And their wins have come against Workington and most recently on Saturday when they defeated Witton Albion 2-0 at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.
“We are the only team not to lose in the Premier Division,” Reynolds said.
“But it’s been very difficult. It’s been a huge step up in terms of quality.
“I looked at our opening few games and I was thinking where’s our first points coming from.
“The football is completely different to what we are used to. The teams are big and athletic, they get the ball from back to front quickly and rely on set-pieces.
“But we are free-flowing football and I think we’ve been allowed a bit more time on the ball which has helped us.”
For the trip to Lancaster, Reynolds will be without Regan Linney once again.
He is set to have a scan on his knee injury which has sidelined him since the start of the season.
Macauley Wilson is also likely to be missing for a few weeks after suffering a knee ligament injury.