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GLADIATORS TRAVEL TO BRIG IN NPL PREMIER DIVISION ENCOUNTER


Matlock Town will be looking to return to winning ways on Saturday after their seven game winning streak in the league came to an end in their most recent match away at Stafford Rangers last weekend.


The Gladiators come up against Bamber Bridge this weekend, who have surprised many with their excellent start to this season's campaign. The Lancashire outfit currently sit in the play-off places along with Paul Phillips's men. Matlock Town could end up top of the league if they win this game and South Shields's result goes their way.


The Opposition


Bamber Bridge currently occupy fifth position in the NPL Premier Division and sit four points behind the Gladiators who remain in second place despite their recent 2-0 defeat away at Stafford Rangers. The Lancashire outfit have won five, drawn two and lost two of their opening nine games of the league season and are currently unbeaten in the league this season at home.


Ewan Bange is their top goal scorer in the league so far in this 2021/22 campaign. The striker has scored seven league goals so far and is only behind Lancaster City's Sam Fishburn in the NPL Premier Division's top goal scorers list for this season.


In their most recent game, Bamber Bridge were knocked out of the FA Cup at the second qualifying round stage after losing 3-1 away from home at Runcorn Linnets. In their most recent home game, they drew 1-1 with Radcliffe in the league.


The club were formed back in 1974 and they play their home games at The Sir Tom Finney Stadium at Irongate. Irongate is a suburb of Bamber Bridge which is an area of Preston in Lancashire. The stadium can hold up to 3,000 spectators and has a seated capacity of 554. The club are affectionately known as just Brig.


Brig's manager is former Everton, Blackpool and Fleetwood Town player Jamie Milligan. Milligan became Bamber Bridge's manager back in December of 2019.


Midfielder Isaac Sinclair is the son of former West Ham United player and England international Trevor Sinclair. Trevor often watches his son play and was a spectator at the game when Matlock last played Bamber Bridge.


The last trophy Bamber Bridge lifted was the Northern Premier League President's Cup back in the 2004/05 season. Brig won the Northern Premier League Premier Division league title in the 1995/96 campaign.


Brig's record attendance was remarkably set in 1996 when the club played a friendly game against The Czech Republic as a warm-up ahead of the Euro 96 tournament. The Czech national team trained at The Sir Tom Finney Stadium at Irongate in preparation for the tournament that they reached the final in. An attendance of 2,300 watched The Czech Republic defeat Bamber Bridge 9-1 in one of the club's most unique games ever played.




One to Watch


New signing Fin Sinclair-Smith will be a key player to look out for. The winger was only confirmed as signed on Friday but will be available for selection for the match against Matlock. He joins Brig on a permanent deal from fellow NPL Premier Division outfit FC United of Manchester.


Sinclair-Smith scored seven goals in 36 appearances for FC United of Manchester.


The winger is 21 years old and was born in Liverpool. Sinclair-Smith started his career at Blackpool and scored one goal in three appearances for the club.



Team News


Jerome Greaves will definitely be unavailable for the game against Bamber Bridge and will be out for some time while he recovers from a torn hamstring. Jamie Sharman will also now be unavailable for a while due to personal reasons. Ashton Hall will not be available as he is trialing with Barnsley's youth set-up.


Declan Walker has recently departed the Gladiators and has followed Sam Egerton in joining Warrington Rylands.


Ross Hannah is likely to still remain unavailable while he recovers from a pulled hamstring.


On a positive note, new loan signing Jamie Cooke and the second coming of Gladiators legend Adam Yates will both be available for selection for Saturday's game.



Previous Meeting


Matlock Town last played Bamber Bridge on the opening day of the ill-fated 2020/21 league campaign. The Gladiators lost 1-0 in a poor game which was watched by a crowd of 397.

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