Published Date: 30 April 2008
By Robert Kelly
Brig boss Phil Entwistle admits he would be itching to pull on his football kit and be involved in the play-off semi-final at the cauldron of Gigg Lane tonight.
Entwistle and Neil Crowe, who are in their first full season in charge, will be forced to direct their players against FC United of Manchester from the sidelines.
He said: "I'd love to be out there playing and there is nothing better as a footballer than to go into that kind of atmosphere and win. This is what we have worked hard for and it is a one-off game being decided on the night.
"At least if I was a Brig player I would have the ability to change the game whereas as a manager all we can do is bring a few substitutes on and hope they can influence the result."
Entwistle believes Brig will not be phased by the pressure cooker atmosphere after being denied a win earlier in March when FC United snatched a 2-2 draw deep into seven minutes of injury time.
He said: "It is going to be a great match and this is what we have worked for all season. We are selfish as we know we are a team of winners if we play at our best and we have nothing to fear going over there."
Brig's league form against FC United is impressive after recording a win and two draws during this year's campaign but Entwistle hopes the occasion doesn't affect the players.
"The players are confident," he said. "Nerves will play their part but when they get their first touch, header and pass I think they will go.
"But we do have experienced players such as Adam Tong to help the players calm down.
"I will tell the players before they go out to play to the best of their ability and have no regrets when they come back into the dressing room. I will also tell them to remember the bigger games in the season when we won and repeat it."
A win would see Brig in the final on Saturday against the winners of Curzon Ashton and Skelmersdale.