Zebras a target as Crowe eyes return

Chris Marlow will miss the next four games through suspension
Chris Marlow will miss the next four games through suspension

Bamber Bridge will look to bounce back in style this week, after a crushing 6-1 defeat at Evo-Stik NPL North new boys Padiham at the weekend.

Brig were level pegging at the Arbories on the hour, but conceded five goals in a devastating 21-minute period, slipping to 13th in the table.

Now Neil Crowe’s side have a chance to put that behind them, with tonight’s home league clash against regional rivals Kendal Town followed by Saturday’s FA Trophy preliminary round trip to lowly NPL South side Brigg Town.

Of Saturday’s thrashing, Crowe said: “I still can’t get my head around it. It was a total collapse, with all the goals down to individual errors.

“The players know what I feel, and we can’t put up with that. Padiham out-fought us and deserved their win.”

Tonight’s opponents, Steve Edmondson’s Kendal, moved up to second in the NPL North table on Saturday with a 2-0 home defeat of Clitheroe.

And they’ll be no pushover for a Brig side struggling to re-find their early season form, as Crowe acknowledged.

He said: “We’re on the back of a bad run, but we’ve eight players out for some reason or other reason. And I’ve not got the budget to replace them.”

The missing list includes midfielder Chris Marlow, suspended for four games after a controversial dismissal against Prescot, injured quartet George Bowyer, Ryan Thomson, Roberto Bonaminio and Tom Williams, and the unavailable Matty Kay.

But keeper Lee Dovey could be back by Saturday, which on paper appears to be an easier affair against a bottom-of-the table Lincolnshire outfit.

The Zebras have lost all nine league games this season, but Crowe will afford his hosts the greatest respect.

He added: “We can’t take them for granted, and need to just get over this patch and push on, keeping in touch with the top 10 league clubs.”