Bamber Bridge legend Ally Waddecar deserves a good reception when he returns to old club as a FC United player, says his boss Neil Reynolds
FC United of Manchester boss Neil Reynolds is hopeful Alistair Waddecar will be afforded the reception he deserves when he returns to Bamber Bridge this weekend.
The Brig legend goes back to the Sir Tom Finney Stadium for the first time since his summer move to the Red Rebels.
Waddecar spent more than a decade at Irongate, making more than 450 appearances, helping them win promotion in 2018 and the NPL League Cup in 2017.
He has often been described as the greatest ever player in Brig's history.
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But the winger, who can also operate as a striker, opted for a fresh challenge when he was enticed to Broadhurst Park.
Reynolds knows what it is like to head back to Brig – he spent many years of his career at the club as a player, assistant manager and manager before taking over at FC United in October 2018.
To say he was disappointed with the reaction by some sections of the home fans towards him on the occasions he’s gone back would be an understatement, but Reynolds is hopeful Waddecar will be appreciated for the wonderful service he gave to the club – at least before the first whistle.
“It’s going to be a weird feeling for Ally going back,” said Reynolds, who also has former Brig stars Adam Dodd, Michael Potts and Regan Linney in his ranks.
“We signed him all those years ago at Brig and he became a hero at the club.
“For whatever reason, he decided to move on and I just think he needed to test himself somewhere else.
“I really hope he gets a good reception from the Brig supporters before and after the game. He deserves that recognition.
"I say that as someone who didn't really get a good reception certainly in some quarters when I went back.
"But Ally definitely deserves a bit of recognition.
"I am sure he will get that, but come 3pm on Saturday, there will be nobody on the Bamber Bridge side who will want him to go away and steal the headlines."
Reynolds admits Waddecar has taken time to settle into his new surroundings following his move from Brig.
But he has seen signs in recent times that he is beginning to find his best form.
"He struggled to adapt at first," said Reynolds.
"He hadn't really played for 12 months and had an hernia.
"He wasn't really fit but I think over the last six games, he is starting to show his best form and is proving to be a real crowd favourite.
"He is scoring, he's setting goals up and he's getting back to his mesmerising best."
Reynolds would not have envisaged going back to Irongate in the FC United dugout as the underdog.
But that will certainly be the case this weekend as Brig lie in second spot in the table, with FC United 11 points further back in eighth.
Reynolds has nothing but praise for the way Brig boss Jamie Milligan has got his side playing.
Of course, the pair know each other well. Milligan played under Reynolds at Brig and then went on to become part of his coaching staff at Irongate and then moved with him to Broadhurst Park.
The Red Rebels will draw some strength by the fact that they won the first meeting between the sides this season, a 1-0 win at home in September.
"We are just really looking forward to the game," said Reynolds.
"I thought Brig were really good when they came to our place and we were a little bit fortunate to win the game.
"I thought they were a really good passing side, with lots of quality.
"Listen, Milli has got them playing really well and so it's going to be a really tough ask for us.
“We have been inconsistent this season.
“We have lost to bottom of the league but then beaten the top of the league.
“If we beat Brig on Saturday then we will go eight points behind them with a game in hand.
"We just want to start building consistency heading into the final 10 games.
"I am delighted to see Brig where they are. We are going to the second best team in the division at the moment.
"I think they were one of the favourites to go down at the start of the season so it’s great to see where they are and what a good job Jamie Milligan is doing.”
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