Non-league Boxing Day: Bamber Bridge set for derby against Lancaster City; Chorley travel to Wrexham

Bamber Bridge's Alistair Waddecar
Bamber Bridge's Alistair Waddecar

Bamber Bridge manager Jamie Milligan is pleased with his side’s progress towards a new style of play, as they prepare to travel to Lancaster City on Boxing Day.

After being appointed two weeks ago, the 39-year-old signalled his intentions to change how Brig play, with an emphasis on positive, passing football.

And despite a 2-1 home defeat to Matlock Town last weekend, Milligan took plenty of positives from the game. Milligan said: “What we’re asking them to do is quite a risky way of playing, they’re doing it and trying it and you can see that.

“They’re still a little bit tentative in certain areas but that’s only natural – it will come.

“I’ve given them the license to go and play football and to enjoy their football, and I want to enjoy watching them as well, so I’m pleased with them.”

Brig’s opponents Lancaster have exceeded expectations so far and have spent the Christmas period joint top of the league alongside South Shields. Several faces from the Dolly Blues side will be familiar to Milligan’s men, with Paul Dawson and Brad Carsley both having turned out for Brig as recently as last season. Carsley scored the third goal in a 3-0 away win over

Stafford on Saturday, a win that now extends their run to only one loss in 13 league games. They also possess the league’s third top goalscorer in 38-year-old David Norris, whose 11 strikes puts him only behind Brig’s Ali Waddecar (12) and Tunde Owolabi of FC United (16).

In terms of team news, Milligan should have close to a full complement of players available to him.

Macauley Wilson is nearing full fitness after a knee injury, although Ryan White is still out.

City assistant boss Graham lancashire said: “Milli has gone back in there as manager,” said Lancashire.

“He has shaken a few things up. Brought a few players in and got rid of a few.

“We are expecting a bumper crowd on Boxing Day.

“It should be a fantastic atmosphere – two good teams going for the win.”

Meanwhile, Chorley boss Jamie Vermiglio believes today’s Boxing Day clash away at former Football League club Wrexham is one to savour.

It was not that long ago that the Magpies’ usual festive fixture was against local rivals Bamber Bridge and Vermiglio says the fixture against the Robins is a sign of how far the club has come.

“We are playing in the National League now and our local derby on Boxing Day is Wrexham,” he said.

“That is brilliant. They will bring a lot of fans and we will take a lot. The atmosphere is going to be great and my lad are really looking forward to it.”

Meanwhile elsewhere in the National League, AFC Fylde travel north to take on league leaders Barrow. In the National League North, Southport host Chester.

Clitheroe host Widnes at Shawbridge in the NPL North West Division. Kendal Town are at home to Colne.