Greener grass for Brig’s new Blood

Darren Green and Andy Bell
Darren Green and Andy Bell
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Darren Green has made a surprise return to Bamber Bridge ahead of tomorrow’s FA Trophy preliminary-round clash against Lancaster.

Green was part of the Droylsen side that thrashed Neil Crowe’s men 7-1 at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium on the opening day NPL First Division North campaign.

The versatile attacker even found himself on the scoresheet as the Bloods ran riot.

But Brig boss Crowe is pleased the 26-year-old has returned to rejoin his injury-hit squad on a permanent deal.

He said: “He is a good player and he can single-handedly win you a game.

“Darren is a great footballer and he used to play for us a couple of years ago.

“He played against us in the opening day of the season and scored – he has a bit of a smile about it but that is gone and he is a Brig player now.

“Darren can play up front or as a central-midfielder.

“He played on Tuesday night against Harrogate Railway Athletic and he fits into our style of play. Darren is very experienced at this level he’s been around for the last 7 to 8 years.”

Brig drew 3-3 with Lancaster in the league at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium earlier this month.

And after conceding 11 goals in their last four games, Crowe is eyeing a clean sheet.

He said: “We are looking forward to it. We know it will be tough – we played them in the league a few weeks back.

“We are going there confident. I’m not hoping for another six-goal thriller.

“We’ve conceded a few goals in the last few games so I’d be happy with a 1-0 win.”

Chorley knocked Brig out of the FA Cup in the third preliminary tound last Saturday.

The Magpies inflicted a 4-1 defeat on Bamber Bridge in front of 2241 fans – the highest gate at Brig’s home ground since 1996.

And Crowe’s men crashed back to reality on Tuesday night as they drew 1-1 with Harrogate Railway Athletic in dismal weather conditions at a near-empty Station View ground.

Crowe said: “I think after last Saturday anything is an anti-climax.

“Going from a crowd of more than 2,000 to 60 in the rain in Yorkshire and having to travel in a mini bus is a bit of a drop – but that is this league.”

And Crowe was not happy with the manner in which they conceded a 1-0 lead against the Yorkshire outfit.

He said: “We were poor on Tuesday night to be honest.

“We were disappointed to concede a goal in the 92nd minute and disappointed to concede two late goals two Tuesdays in a row.

“Against Harrogate it was a case of switching off.”

Crowe is in the midst of an injury crisis in midfield.

He said: “Paul McKenna saw a physio last night after he injured his ankle against Chorley and he doesn’t think it is as bad as he first thought.

“We don’t know how long he will be out for.

“It is a massive blow and I’m without my first-choice central midfield pairing, as Matty Kay came off with a hamstring injury on Tuesday.

“And Joey Mullen is 50/50. It’s frustrating – we haven’t been able to name our first-choice 14 all season.”

Elsewhere in the FA Trophy NPL First Division outfit’s Clitheroe host Droylsden, Burscough entertain Goole AFC and Kendal Town host Northwich Victoria.

And Southport welcome Welling United in the Conference Premier.