Boss Jamie Milligan’s delighted as Bamber Bridge players return to training

Bamber Bridge boss Jamie Milligan hopes his side can complete as thorough a pre-season as possible as they gear up for a potential return to competitive action.

Thursday, 16th July 2020, 4:45 pm

Brig took part in non-contact training on Monday night for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown, that coming after the government eased their restrictions on group training.

But with uncertainty still looming over non-league clubs, Milligan accepts that it will be difficult for both Brig and the majority of clubs in the NPL Premier Division going forward.

He said: “I’ve been in touch with quite a few managers in our league and they’re the same (suffering difficulties), because we don’t know when to start, we can’t plan pre-season dates, and we can’t offer anybody any money because we don’t know our budget.

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Brig boss Jamie Milligan

“We’re going to try to aim for some pre-season friendlies, probably for the middle of August, and try and get some games in. Hopefully we have a start date by then.”

Monday night’s session was the first time Brig have trained in a group for four months, following the league’s suspension on March 16.

Milligan’s side have not played since March 7, suffering a narrow 2-1 defeat to then-leaders South Shields at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.

They were set to welcome Gainsborough Trinity on March 14, although that game was called off the evening before after a member of the away team went into self-isolation.

The Brig boss says the players have come back in good shape, and that the work towards starting the league campaign begins now.

“We set runs for them to do all throughout the lockdown, they’ve all come back and they all look in decent shape,” he said.

“We’ve just got to keep going now, there’s no easy way around pre-season, you’ve got to get the work done and get through it.”

On the injury front, Brig welcomed back a full complement of players on Monday, except for Ali Waddecar, who still requires surgery on a hernia problem.

Milligan added: “There’s only Ali who is injured. He needs his operation still and hopefully he’ll get it done soon. It’s just been hard because he’s not been able to get in (due to the pandemic). Everyone else has come back in good health, and we just need to work hard and get one or two players in, a couple of young lads and a couple of loans, and just get going really.”

Brig are set to host an open training session at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium on Saturday, with fans invited to attend as long as they adhere to both social distancing protocols and the Covid-safe protocols for the clubhouse, which have been published on the club’s website.

Milligan says the players are looking forward to seeing the supporters again.

He said: “It’ll be great to get as many fans in as possible, so they can watch the session and chat with the players and have a drink afterwards.

“It’ll be great to see the fans again because I’m sure they’ve missed it as much as we have.”