Bamber Bridge assistant boss Neil Reynolds is relishing the club’s new-found status as the team to beat this season in the NPL First Division North.
For many years, the club has always been viewed as one of the division’s underdogs – always striving to upset the odds at the top.
However, the captures of players such as former Preston forward Brett Ormerod and ex-Everton midfielder Jamie Milligan to add to last season’s signings of PNE legends Paul McKenna and Jon Macken means there is a different feeling sweeping through the terraces at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.
As well as the household names they have managed to entice, the club have also swooped for established non-league stars like Dave Hankin, Joe Booth and Michael Barnes.
And after finishing third last season and agonisingly missing out on promotion in the play-off final over the previous two years, Reynolds is eager to see the club finally achieve its Holy Grail and win promotion to the Premier Division.
“We have got to go one better than we did last season and the season before,” Reynolds said.
“I don’t want to feel what I felt the last two years again.
“There is no reason why we can’t go one better.
“It’s going to be difficult because teams are going to look at our squad and are going to come and try to stop us playing.
“They will try to upset our rhythm, but we’ve got to stand up to that and keep to our philosophy which is to play good football.
“There is a different dynamic around the club this season.
“People are saying, ‘Bamber Bridge are going to win it’.
“But I like that – it’s testimony to what we have built to be honest .
“We have never had a better squad since me and Neil Crowe have been in charge.
“Players are coming to Bamber Bridge not for money but because they have heard good things about the way we play football and the team spirit we have.
“They want to be part of it. We did not ring Brett Ormerod and Jamie Milligan this summer – they picked the phone up to us.”
Ormerod was straight into the groove on Saturday on the opening day of the season, scoring twice to give Brig a two-goal lead over Warrington Town at home.
However, Crowe’s men were rocked as Town hit-back in the final 10 minutes to earn a share of the spoils.
On Tuesday, Brig were held again, this time at Lancaster in a 1-1 draw at Giant Axe, Chris Marlow equalising with 20 minutes to go.
“We are chuffed with the start to be honest,” said Reynolds.
“We drew 2-2 with Warrington and we probably only deserved to draw.
“When we went 1-0 up in the first half it was against the run of play – Warrington were the better side.
“It was disappointing to concede two goals but we did not have out best XI out.
“We went to Lancaster on Tuesday and produced some of the best football I have seen.”
Brig travel to Northwich Victoria tomorrow – a team which has won its opening two games of the season.
Reynolds is hopeful McKenna will be fit after he missed the first two games with a calf problem, while Matty Kay is struggling with a groin strain. Lee Dovey (suspended) and Hankin (knee) are unavailable.