Fixture pile-up is a concern for Renno

Neil Reynolds has questioned the NPL First Division North fixture scheduling after Bamber Bridge were handed the daunting prospect of four games in a week.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 31st March 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Saturday, 8th April 2017, 10:21 pm
Adam  Dodd is hoping to recover from a bout of illness to figure against Glossop (photo: Stefan Willoughby)
Adam Dodd is hoping to recover from a bout of illness to figure against Glossop (photo: Stefan Willoughby)

The Brig boss watched his men secure a brilliant 2-1 win over Premier Division outfit Ashton United in the quarter-finals of the League Cup on Tuesday night.

But their semi-final clash against Buxton at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium, which is arguably their biggest game of the season so far, will go ahead next Thursday – sandwiched in between three league fixtures.

Although a number of postponements earlier this year have undoubtedly been a factor in Brig’s current hectic schedule, Reynolds cannot understand why the first few rounds of the League Cup were not played earlier in the season.

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A quick glance at Brig’s fixture list shows that they only played one midweek game during the month of November and January.

“My only gripe with the league is that you seem to get penalised for doing well,” Reynolds said. “I don’t know why the League Cup games start so late.

“We have now got back to back fixtures where we’re playing Saturday-Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday. Why are they making teams play four games in eight days?”

Despite that contentious issue, Reynolds was absolutely thrilled by the way his team overcame a 1-0 half-time deficit to beat United at Irongate.

“The word I used after the game was magnificent,” said Reynolds. “I’m on cloud nine.

“I said before the game that beating Ashton was something we believed we could achieve – even when we were 1-0 down at half-time.

“The first 15 minutes of the second half were the best we have played all season and once we got that foothold in the game, I just could not see us losing.”

Reynolds admitted he is likely to prioritise next week’s semi-final as it is the club’s best chance of ending the season with silverware.

But he will still be looking to take maximum points from tomorrow’s fixture against Glossop and Colne away on Tuesday.

He has a few injury worries with Regan Linney, Phil Doughty, Chris Marlow facing fitness tests, while Adam Dodd has been ill.

Elsewhere, Clitheroe have a great opportunity to move back into the NPL First Division North play-off positions this weekend. With fifth-placed Colne facing a tough trip to title favourites Lancaster, the Blues could leapfrog them with an away victory over relegation-threatened Goole. Elsewhere in the division, rock bottom Burscough could be all but relegated to the North West Counties League if they lose at Colwyn Bay and Prescot Cables defeat Tadcaster Albion. Kendal Town welcome Brighouse Town to Parkside Road.