Bamber Bridge have struggled to come to terms with the loss of talismanic forward Ally Waddecar this season.
That is the view of assistant boss Neil Reynolds who knows just how important the former Preston North End youth player is to his side.
After playing more than 200 games for the club and enjoyed a number of injury-free seasons, Waddecar has been a notable absentee from the Brig teamsheet over the last couple of months.
He has not played since the 7-0 thrashing of New Mills in September after suffering a mysterious knee injury.
That has since been diagnosed as medial ligament damage and he faces at least another three weeks on the sidelines.
In Waddecar’s absence, Brig – who were billed as one of the NPL First Division North title favourites at the start of the season – have struggled for consistency and have yet to really get their season off the ground.
Saturday’s narrow 1-0 defeat to current NPL First Division North leaders Warrington Town at the Cantilever Stadium was their fourth defeat in the last 10 games in league and cup.
“The main problem we have had is we have been without Ally Waddecar for a lot of it,” Reynolds said.
“No team in our league would not miss him. We can’t replace him – he’s that good.
“Other teams with bigger budgets could go out and sign somebody to replace him, but we can’t do that – we have to wait for him get back fit.
“I don’t want to put pressure on Ally and make him feel like he has to rush back, but he’s been a big part of what we have done over the last few years.
“He’s played 250 games for us and helped us get to the play-off final over the past two seasons.
“I would go as far as to say he’s our best player.
“He gives us something different. He’s got the pace to get in behind teams or stretch them out wide.
“We’ve missed him and Brett Ormerod at times this season and that certainly is one of the main reasons why we are not doing as well.
“It’s looking like Ally will be out for another three or four weeks. He’s doing his rehabilitation and our physio Neil Coomber is doing great work with him, so we’re looking forward to having him back soon.”
Without their starman, Reynolds and Brig boss Neil Crowe will have to formulate a gameplan which will be good enough to beat derby rivals Lancaster City at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium tomorrow.
The Dolly Blues have enjoyed a resurgence under new manager Phil Brown in recent weeks.
They have moved above Brig in the table after winning three of their past five league games, losing only narrowly to high-flying Northwich Victoria last time out in the league.
“We are really looking forward to playing Lancaster,” said Reynolds, who watched Brig defeat Daisy Hill 4-0 on Tuesday night in the LFA Challenge Trophy.
“The Daisy Hill game was the first of four home games for us and so it’s a chance for us to put a marker down and put back to back wins together at home.
“We know how Phil Brown’s teams play. They will be organised, like to move the ball around and are a passing team.
“But that should suit us because we do the same thing.”
Transfer-listed former skipper Matty Kay will not figure tomorrow, while there are doubts over Stuart Vasey, who has a bruised heel.