Brig boss Jamie Milligan believes clash against Matlock Town will be a real test of his team's promotion credentials

For arguably the first time this season, Bamber Bridge boss Jamie Milligan was left feeling downcast following the final whistle of a game.

Friday, 24th September 2021, 8:00 am

Brig were beaten 3-1 by Runcorn Linnets in the second qualifying round of the FA Cup on Saturday – a disappointing result against a team who are a division below them in the football pyramid.

Having seen his men spurn a great chance to make further progress in the prestigious competition, Milligan was also disappointed to see many of his fringe players fail to impress.

With his men in a play-off spot in the NPL Premier Division this season, the Brig boss felt it was a perfect opportunity to rest some key players.

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Bamber Bridge skipper Macauley Wilson in action against Runcorn Linnets (photo:Ruth Hornby)

However, their replacements failed to meet the required standards as Runcorn ran out convincing winners.

“That performance on Saturday will not be accepted,” said Milligan. “The lads who have been playing regularly over the last six or seven games, they needed a rest.

“I felt you could see that in our previous game against FC United, they looked a little bit leggy.

“So I wanted to give them a rest and also give the lads who haven’t played as much this season some game time.

“I believe we have got a young, strong squad and this is no disrespect to Runcorn, who deserved to win on the day, but that team should still have had enough to win on the day.

“Whether the lads who came in were a little bit rusty because they hadn’t played much football, but they still should have had enough and they know that.

“It was a good opportunity for them to put their name in my mind for this Saturday but I think they have picked my team for me.”

Milligan is likely to bring back players such as Ewan Bange and Rob Apter for this weekend’s home clash against second-placed Matlock Town.

The Derbyshire outfit, who are four points and three places above Brig in the table – will provide a good yardstick for Milligan’s men.

“Matlock have had some great results this season and have scored plenty of goals,” Milligan said.

“It will be a test for us and I think it will show us where we really are and whether we can compete with the better sides in the division.

“But I believes in the lads to be able to do that. As long as we work hard and play the right way, we are more than capable of beating Matlock.”

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