It won’t be easy but Brig can still be challengers

George Bowyer for Bamber Bridge against Euxton Villa pre-season
George Bowyer for Bamber Bridge against Euxton Villa pre-season

Bamber Bridge are a side that nobody can dislike.

They do things the right way, they don’t pay players obscene wages and they ensure all fans are catered for.

Last season was superb for Neil Crowe’s side, as they reached the semi-final of the Lancashire Trophy and were defeated in the Evo-Stik North Division One play-off final against Ramsbottom United.

This season I feel will be much harder, despite Brig retaining the bulk of their squad, including the services of Matty Kay and Ally Waddecar, as the league has seen yet more cash pumped into it by Salford City.

It’s reported Salford are paying players in excess of £500 per week.

On paper they should be real title challengers, but money doesn’t guarantee success.

Bamber Bridge are a unique club – the set-up is excellent and the squad play for one another.

They win and they lose together, not like other sides who have players turning up to earn a bit of extra cash before returning home.

Last season will be hard to replicate but I think Bamber Bridge have the quality to do so.

They have a great backroom set-up and boss Crowe, assistant Neil Reynolds and coaches Mick Taylor and Stu Barton all want to play football the right way.

On the pitch they have quality in all areas, starting with Lee Dovey in goal and finishing with Alex Taylor up front.

It’s easy to say my man to watch is Ally Waddecar, but I think there is more to Bamber Bridge than Waddecar.

Young midfielder Curtis Thompson performed excellently last year as did non-league stalwart Matt Lawlor.

Greg Johnstone has returned after taking a short break in pre-season and George Bowyer has committed his future to the club.

One player to watch for me is Glen Steele, who has signed from Lancaster City.

Steele will slot in nicely alongside Lawlor and I think Crowe’s side will have perhaps two of the best centre-backs in the league.

Obviously the goals of Waddecar are important but I think a fit Johnstone will be able to contribute too.

Brig kick off the season on Saturday against a Droylsden side who have recruited heavily after being relegated.

Dave Pace has brought in more than 10 players and I think that will work against them on Saturday.

And rig have the ability to pass anybody off the park so don’t be surprised to see them in the play-offs come April.