Brig boss keeping one eye on the weather

Zach Clarke
Zach Clarke
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Bamber Bridge manager Neil Crowe believes tomorrow’s match against New Mills is “in the hands of the gods”.

Brig are fifth in the Northern Premier First Division North and travel to Derbyshire hoping the weather will not postpone their play-off push.

Crowe said: “New Mills have struggled with their pitch, it holds water so it is touch and go that the game will be on if this weather continues.

“Whether we will play I don’t know, but looking at the forecast it is in the hands of the gods.

“But we are confident we can go and get something, it isn’t a bad pitch – it has a nice surface but a bit of a slope. We like to get the ball down and pass so it will suit our game.”

New Mills are 18th but have only played 23 games – the least amount in the division – due waterlogged pitches causing their games to be postponed.

They have not kicked a ball in anger at home in 2014 and their only match of the new year was a 2-1 away defeat to Farsley.

Crowe said: “We are fed up with this rain, we were lucky to get the game on against Padiham last Saturday.

“If it wasn’t for the hard work of the unsung heroes at the club – the groundstaff and volunteers – we wouldn’t have stood a chance of playing.”

Despite the torrential rain, Brig beat Padiham 5-1 in a comprehensive victory at Irongate.

Alistair Waddecar slotted away a rare penalty for the home side and new signing Zach Clark scored on his debut.

Crowe said: “I thought we deserved to win, we had the lion’s share of possession and played some good football on a tricky pitch.

“We’ve not had the best of luck with penalties this season, but every credit to Ally – usually he doesn’t like taking them, but he stepped up and finished it.

“We took our chances and Zach had a good performance, he popped up with a goal in his first match for the club.”

Crowe’s side bounced back from back-to-back defeats by thrashing Padiham.

And he said: “It was good to win, but we didn’t deserve to lose either game beforehand – especially against Curzon Ashton.

“Both were 1-0 losses and they haven’t affected us and it was nice to prove that with the victory.”

New Mills have lost seven of their last 10 games, but Crowe isn’t taking anything for granted.

He said: “We have worked hard to get where we are in the league and we know that with one bad result we can drop down to seventh and out of the play off places.

“But we aren’t too concerned about the table right now, we are concentrating on ourselves and getting three points on Saturday.

“Everybody is capable of beating each other, Ossett – who are at the bottom – are only losing by the odd goal. It’s a tough league and we won’t underestimate New Mills.”

Crowe isn’t looking to bring in any more new signings but the Brig boss is without George Bowyer for tomorrow’s clash.

Brig have been boosted by the return to fitness of striker Greg Johnstone.

Johnstone suffered a horror leg break in the 4-1 victory over Burscough back in October.

He will link-up with Euxton Villa – like goalkeeper Lee Dovey did earlier in the season – to ease his way back into first team fooball.

Crowe said: “Greg is ready to start playing, he will get four or five games under his belt at Euxton. Then he will return to us when he is fully fit.”

l Chorley will be looking to return to winning ways tomorrow after suffering only their third league defeat of the season last time out.

The Magpies were defeated 3-1 at Blyth Spartans last weekend, but they will look to bounce back at home against Stamford tomorrow.

Elsewhere in the NPL Premier Division, AFC Fylde go in search of their sixth successive win when they travel to face Buxton.

In the First Division North, Burscough visit Harrogate Railway Athletic, while Kendal Town host Darlington 1883..

Clitheroe visit Wakefield this weekend.

l In the Conference Premier, Southport host Braintree Town.