Brig boss is looking forward to repeat of League Cup final
Ironic was the word which sprung to Neil Reynolds' mind when he heard who his team had been paired with on the opening day of the season.
Bamber Bridge will play Grantham Town away in their first match in the NPL Premier Division – on Saturday, August 18.
The Gingerbreads were the team which Brig defeated in the final of the NPL League Cup, in April, of last year at Leek Town’s Harrison Park ground.
The 2-1 victory – courtesy of goals from Jamie Milligan and Regan Linney – was quite the scalp for Reynolds’ men at the time with Grantham from the division above.
However, the teams meet next month on an equal footing following Brig’s promotion from the NPL First Division North last season.
Grantham should provide stiff opposition, they reached the play-off final last season after finishing fourth.
However, their plans this season have been disrupted by Adam Stevens decision to resign as manager and join former club Coalville.
Former Norwich City and Aston Villa assistant manager Ian Culverhouse has been installed as his replacement.
“It’s ironic,” said Reynolds. “That’s the word I would use to describe our first game of the season.
“It’s something we are really looking forward to.
“They have just lost their manager Adam Stevens, who has gone back Coalville.
“He actually went from Coalville to Grantham and has gone back there again.
“A couple of players have followed him back there and they have got a new manager now.
“They might be going through a bit of a transitional phase so there might be no better time to play them.
“Obviously we played them a year-and-a-half ago and beat them in the cup final.”
Two players who won’t be part of the Brig squad for the opening match of the season are Adam Roscoe and Matt Mahoney.
Roscoe has decided to stop playing for the moment at least.
His partner has just given birth and he has been struggling with a longstanding back complaint.
Mahoney has decided that he will struggle to juggle his work commitments with the increased demands of the higher level.
Reynolds also revealed that youngster Hyuga Tanner is unlikely to be part of the first-team squad this season as he is looking to find a way back into the professional game.
Reynolds though is hopeful of adding 22-year-old winger Ryan White to his squad and young goalkeeper Danny Roccia, who will hopefully provide competition for first-choice regular Lloyd Rigby.
“I will be speaking to Ryan about signing,” said Reynolds.
“He’s a left-winger who is very talented and was a second-year pro at Bolton Wanderers.
“Danny is from local football. He was at Fulwood Amateurs . He’s been training with the squad and I have been looking to bring in a second goalkeeper.”
Brig enjoyed a good 3-1 win over Charnock Richard in their latest pre-season friendly on Saturday.
They are training most nights this week and will face Kendal Town on Saturday in a friendly match at Parkside Road.