Pressure is off Bamber Bridge in push for play-offs, says boss Jamie Milligan

Matt Dudley, second from left, is mobbed by his team-mates after scoring the winner  against Radcliffe
Matt Dudley, second from left, is mobbed by his team-mates after scoring the winner against Radcliffe

Bamber Bridge boss Jamie Milligan reckons his players can start to play without fear as they aim for an unlikely play-off place.

A great run of five wins and a draw from their eight league games since Milligan took over as boss has pulled Brig 10 points clear of the NPL Premier Division danger zone.

And while they cannot afford to become complacent about their position in relation to the bottom, the players now have one eye on a late push for a top-five place.

Brig are currently nine points behind fifth-placed Warrington Town, but Milligan reckons it is not beyond the realms of possibility.

“This is what I said to the lads at training on Tuesday night, there is no pressure on us – nobody expects us to get in the play-offs,” he said.

“I’ve said to the lads to not fear anybody that you play against, because on our day we can beat any team in the league, and I know that 100%.

“I have been really pleased with how we have done since I came in and who knows what can happen?

“If we do win and results go our way, we’ve got a good chance of moving up a few places and then the league looks totally different.

“I am just pleased with how the players have taken on board what we have asked them to do, but there is still loads of improving to do.”

Brig certainly face a stern test of any play-off credentials they may have when they travel to Nantwich Town this weekend. The Dabbers are in sixth spot in the table, two points behind fifth and have won four out of their last six games.

Brig though go looking for their third successive win, following consecutive 2-1 home victories over Buxton and Radcliffe.

He said: “It’s going to be a tough game, they’re up there for a reason. They are a good team and they try to play good football. We’re going there to win, it’s as simple as that.”

Meanwhile, Milligan also praised the performances of Richie Allen and Matt Dudley, who got the goals last weekend against Radcliffe.

“You’ve just got to let Richie go and play and let him do his stuff, but to be fair to him he works his socks off the ball as well which a lot of people don’t see,” he said.

“I’ve played with Duds, I know what he’s like and I know what’s he good at.

“He just needs a run of games in one position and what he’s doing for us is really good because he’s not playing as an out-and-out striker, he’s coming back to help and link the play up and then get it wide to get balls into the box.”

On the injury front, top scorer Waddecar is set to see a specialist about an ongoing groin problem.

Captain Matt Lawlor is still two to three weeks away from returning to action, whilst defender Matty Thomson has returned to training following a spell out with injury.