Matt’s dreaming of a Brig cup run

Bamber Bridge management duo Neil Reynolds, left, and Neil Crowe celebrate the 1-0 victory over Trafford on Tuesday ( Photo: Paul Vause)
Bamber Bridge management duo Neil Reynolds, left, and Neil Crowe celebrate the 1-0 victory over Trafford on Tuesday ( Photo: Paul Vause)

Giantkilling acts and live television appearances will certainly be at the back of the minds of Bamber Bridge’s players on Saturday when they prepare to face AFC Goole.

Neil Crowe’s men travel to the East Riding of Yorkshire for the first qualifying round of the FA Cup.

While there is not much prestige attached to the early rounds of the famous competition, Brig know that a victory over the Vikings will take them one step closer to the first round proper – and a possible glamour tie against a Football League club.

Experienced defender Matt Lawlor admits he and his team-mates were very interested spectators last season when fellow NPL First Division North outfit Warrington Town defeated Exeter City 1-0 live on the BBC in the FA Cup.

The Wire went on to lose in the second round at Gateshead, but their performances over the course of the cup run earned many plaudits nationwide.

Interestingly, Bamber Bridge did the double over Warrington last season and Lawlor sees no reason why the Irongate men cannot emulate their cup exploits.

Lawlor told the Evening Post: “Our assistant manager Neil Reynolds says to us every year that there are always a few non-league clubs which reach the first round of the FA Cup – so why can’t one of those clubs be Bamber Bridge?

“We saw Warrington do it last season and it would be absolutely massive for us as players to play live on television against a Football League club.”

As well as the razzamataz involved, a good cup run would also create huge financial benefits courtesy of prize money, increased crowd revenues and possible TV money.

Contrary to popular belief – despite signing a number of high-profile names such as ex-Preston forward Brett Ormerod and former Everton midfielder Jamie Milligan during the summer – Brig are still operating on a relatively low budget.

“The money that a cup run generates would be a great for a club like ours,” Lawlor said.

“I think the money Warrington got last season will fund them for the next four years.

“People think we have got loads of money now for some reason – probably because of the players that we have brought in, but we have not got any more money that we had last year.

“Players are coming to Bamber Bridge because they have heard good things and like the way we play football.

“It’s also because of friendships the players have built over the years.

“For example think Paul McKenna is friends with Brett Ormerod and I used to play with Jamie Millgan, Joe Booth and Michael Barnes.

“It’s lot to do with the relationships the players have – nothing about money.”

After securing their first win in the league on Tuesday thanks to a 1-0 win over Trafford at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium, Lawlor is keen to make it two wins on the spin at Goole.

The Vikings sit in a mid-table spot in the First Division South and Lawlor added: “I know that they have got a quite a decent front four, but I have heard they are not quite so clever at the back.”

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the FA Cup, Burscough travel to Alsager Town, while Kendal Town host Dunston UTS at Parkside Road. Clitheroe travel to Rossett Park to take on Marine.