Crowe’s first step towards Brig goal

Bamber Bridge midfielder Chris Marlow on the ball against Lancaster City
Bamber Bridge midfielder Chris Marlow on the ball against Lancaster City
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Clinching a play-off spot is just the first step for ambitious Bamber Bridge boss Neil Crowe.

His men sealed a place in the NPL First Division play-offs without kicking a ball on Tuesday night as rivals Mossley drew 2-2 with Harrogate Railway Athletic.

The result means sixth-placed Mossley cannot catch fourth-placed Brig.

But Crowe said securing a play-off spot is just the beginning.

All is still to play for – including home advantage in the first leg if they finish third – when they travel to face New Mills tomorrow.

He said: “This is just the start. We are happy with getting a play-off spot but at the end of the day we haven’t done anything yet

“We are not going to let up until it is all over.

“But at the moment we have two league games left and we want six points from them. Then we will see what happens.

“We would like to have home advantage but we will go wherever we have to go.”

Brig’s next opponents New Mills are no longer fighting for their lives as they have just been relegated from the division.

And Crowe hopes the fact New Mills have nothing more to play for will work to his side’s advantage.

He said: “New Mills have been relegated. They were scrapping for their lives.

“Now I think it is a different situation for them as they are down.”

Last season, Brig suffered play-off heartbreak after losing agonisingly in the final to Ramsbottom United.

The Rams beat them 3-2 after extra time to bag a place in the NPL Premier Division.

But since last season’s narrow defeat Brig have gone from strength to strength.

Crowe has added ex-Preston North End players Paul McKenna and Jon Macken to his squad.

But Crowe believes this is the toughest league his side has ever competed in.

He said: “I do think our squad is stronger now but also this league is getting stronger.

“Salford and Darlington are neck and neck and you still can’t call who is going up automatically.

“This is the strongest the league has been since I have been involved and that is over 10 years.”

Brig beat play-off rivals Spennymoor Town 2-1 at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.

And Crowe praised his players for their second half fight-back.

He said: “Chris Marlow scored the winner. He has missed the last four games before that.

“He played very well but so did most of the team.

“The second half of the game was a good team performance.

“Jon Macken came on and had a good second half. He helped change the game.

“We changed it to go with two wingers and one up front and it worked – it was a good second half performance.”

Brig will be without young striker Regan Linney for tomorrow’s clash.

Linney is not available to play but Brig boss Crowe praised the youngster for his seamless adaptation from the academy to senior football.

And the Brig hopes the academy unearths more gems like Regan.

Crowe said: “Regan has done very well for us since he has come in.

“He is only 17-years-old and he has not looked out of place at this level. We are hoping more players like Regan come through the academy.”