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Bamber Bridge still in the hunt for automatic promotion

Bamber Bridge boss Neil Reynolds (photo: Ruth Hornby)
Bamber Bridge boss Neil Reynolds (photo: Ruth Hornby)
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Bamber Bridge are still firmly in the hunt for automatic promotion despite falling nine points behind the top two in the NPL First Division North.

That is the view of boss Neil Reynolds, who watched his team battle back to earn a point in a 1-1 draw against rivals Hyde United on Tuesday night at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.

The result kept fourth-placed Brig at arm’s length as far as Hyde are concerned, although the Tigers slipped to second in the table – overtaken by South Shields on goal difference.

It would appear those two are in the driving seat to win promotion with just over a month of the normal season to go.

However, Brig, third-placed Scarborough Athletic and even Prescot Cables, in fifth, will have not given up hope of 
reeling in the top two.

In any case, it’s still game on for those three teams, due to the reorganisation of the 
non-league football pyramid which will take place at the end of this season.

Two extras divisions are 
being created, which means an automatic promotion spot is still up for grabs for the team which finishes third with the best points-per-game ratio across the six divisions at step four in the non-league 
structure.

Brig have accumulated 1.94 points per game so far, which is a record certainly on a par with their contemporaries across the country.

A strong finish to the season, starting with the trip to Tadcaster Albion on Saturday followed by another away game at Skelmersdale on Easter 
Monday, could still open a route to automatic promotion.

“We played so well against Hyde on Tuesday night,” said Reynolds.

“We were unfortunate not to have won the game, but once again we showed that we are 
capable of competing against the best teams in the division.

“We could have done with beating Hyde and in terms of the top two, it’s not looking 
favourable is it, but it’s still on.

“If we can get six points over the Easter weekend, Hyde have got to go to Trafford, South Shields have got a tough game against Prescot, it’s still there for us.

“If anything the pressure is off us now. People are not expecting us to be there – they will be looking at South Shields and Hyde and think that they will get the top two.

“But there’s also a chance of going up by finishing in third place. I think Scarborough are in the best position across the other divisions and they are four points in front of us.

“I think if we can take 18 points out of 24 then we have got a great chance. If not then we will have to do it the hard way in the play-offs.”

Lewis Nightingale is unavailable due to work commitments this weekend, while there is a doubt over Stu Vasey’s 
availability. Regan Linney is a doubt after picking up a knock against Hyde.

In the NWCL Premeir Division on Saturday, Charnock host West Didsbury and Chorlton. Burscough visit Congleton.