Bamber Bridge boss Jamie Milligan pays tribute to influence of Preston North End ‘legend’ Brett Ormerod
Bamber Bridge boss Jamie Milligan reckons his players are starting to believe that they belong in the NPL Premier Division.
After winning promotion in 2018, Brig have spent the past couple of years flirting with the bottom of the table.
Indeed in their first season back at this level, the men from Irongate almost went straight back down.
Stuck in the relegation mire, a timely run in the final few games saved their bacon – securing survival in the penultimate fixture of the campaign.
The 2019/20 season appeared to be following a similar pattern, but the arrival of Milligan as manager in December – replacing Joey Collins – sparked an upturn in fortunes.
Having played for the club under Neil Reynolds previously, Milligan was familiar with the surroundings and many of the squad.
Straight away, he got his first win on the board in his opening game, guiding the team to their first away victory of the season at Whitby Town.
They would win five of Milligan’s first eight league games to move into a comfortable mid-table spot
Indeed, the manager revealed his men were at one point eyeing up a late push for the play-offs.
However, Brig’s good form slightly fizzled out and everything has turned out to be immaterial in the end as the season has been declared null and void due to the coronavirus crisis.
Milligan said that he always believed the squad he inherited was much better than the league table suggested and his first job was to make them believe in themselves.
“We started off well,” said Milligan. “I knew a lot of the players anyway from playing with them and I knew what they were like, they just needed a bit of a lift.
“They were down towards the bottom of the table but they’re good players, they just weren’t enjoying their football because they were low on confidence.
“We just needed to go in and lift the spirits a little bit and we did that to be fair and the players were brilliant for us.
“At one point we were only seven points off the play-offs.
“The season was starting to fizzle out a little bit before the coronavirus ended everything.”
As well as having former Everton, Blackpool and Sheffield Wednesday defender John Hills as his right-hand man, Milligan has brought in former Preston and Blackpool striker Brett Ormerod to work with the forwards.
The Accrington Stanley player ended his playing career at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium in 2016 and Milligan said: “Brett comes in and does a bit of work with the strikers.
“You know what Brett is like, he’s a legend and I’ve never met anyone that has a bad word to say about him because he’s just that likeable.
“You can tell the lads love having him in, he’s funny and he’s a character.
“What he’s done in the game is unbelievable, so I’m glad he accepted the offer to come in and help out because he’s been brilliant.
“Brett has been there and done it and played under all sorts of managers, so it’s massive for our lads because we are a young team. That experience will be great.”