Cup win can spur Brig on says boss

Paul McKenna's return has given Bamber Bridge a lift
Paul McKenna's return has given Bamber Bridge a lift
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Neil Crowe is looking for Bamber Bridge to follow up their midweek FA Cup success by kick-starting their league campaign this weekend.

Brig host Farsley Celtic at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium tomorrow (3pm) and will be in the hunt for their first victory of the campaign in the NPL First Division North.

Their four league matches to date have resulted in three draws against Warrington Town, Lancaster City and Kendal, and a 2-0 defeat at Northwich Victoria.

On Tuesday night, they found form in their FA Cup replay against Mossley, winning 3-1 with the goals coming from Darren Green, Ali Waddecar and Stuart Vasey.

The reward for that victory is a visit to Goole Town in the first qualifying round a week on Saturday.

Brig manager Crowe told the Evening Post: “It was good to get our first win on the board in midweek.

“Our performances have been alright this season, we’ve just not been clinical enough in the final third.

“It was still a bit that way on Tuesday night, although we beat Mossley 3-1 it could easily have been six with the chances that we created.

“Getting through to the next round of the FA Cup was very important, both financially and from a football perspective.

“We want to get ourselves going on a good run and I suppose the way of looking at things so far is that we have only lost one of the first six.

“It was a tough start in the league, with Warrington, Northwich and Lancaster our first three games. We should have won at Lancaster after having enough chances to win three games, let alone one.”

Crowe thinks that a gradual return to a fully-fit squad will help Brig hit the winning trail on a more regular basis.

Experienced pair Brett Ormerod and Paul McKenna have both missed games through injury, while Matty Kay has yet to play this season.

“We have been able to play our strongest XI yet,” said Crowe.

“McKenna missed the first four games and has only been back for the last two, while Ormerod has been out for the last couple of matches.

“I would say Ormerod is 50/50 for Saturday – if he does not quite make it he should be alright for next Tuesday.

“Matty Kay might play on Saturday, while Dave Hankin is not far off from playing his first game for 10 or 11 months.

“Dave did his cruciate ligament last season but he is getting close to fitness.

“He has worked as hard as any semi-pro footballer could do to get back from a serious injury and it will great when he plays a game again.”

Tomorrow’s opponents Farsley have been slow starters, taking just one point from their opening four games.

It is Crowe’s view that it will take the majority of teams a couple more weeks to really find their feet.

“Farsley are usually a very good footballing side so it will not be easy game,” he said.

“They have had a mixed start, although like us, they won in an FA Cup replay during the week.

“At this early stage of the season teams are still settling down and not quite firing on all cylinders.

“If you look at our division there is only really Northwich and Scarborough who have hit really good form.”

Elsewhere in the division, Kendal Town host Mossley tomorrow, while Burscough cross the Pennines to take on Brighouse. Clitheroe are on their travels, visiting Spennymoor Town.