STRENGTH IN DEPTH IS CRUCIAL
Bacup Borough have a busy few week's coming up as they approach the remaining last few week's of the 2022/23 football season.
The lack of midweek fixtures being scheduled at the start of the season and the adverse weather conditions before and during the early part of 2023 has created a backlog of games for borough.
Borough's success in the cup competitions has also played its part in causing problems with league fixtures to be rescheduled due to cup involvement. Many would say that borough have become a victim of their own success and should be able to show flexibility in these situations.
Fortunately Brent Peters has been in a position to call upon his squad in times of need. That 'strength in depth' that most managers talk about has certainly been on show in the borough dugout right through this campaign, and it is that strength that has taken the club to a positive run in the FA Vase, two semi-finals and still an outside chance of reaching the play-offs.
The borough bench look on during the FA Vase clash with Campion AFC
Many times I have spoken to the manager about the importance of having a good squad and every time he always wants to focus on heaping praise on those players sat on the bench. Chatting to Brent recently he said: "You ask any manager in the game and they'll tell you that those players sitting on the bench are equally if not more important than those on the pitch.
"During the course of the season those bench players will have a massive impact on how the season unfolds, and in our case it's been proven."
Some of those players that Brent is alluding to are Emmanuel Ujahchuku, Jack Hayward, Aidan Hussey, Sam Fitton, Ben Langley and Josh High. Several of those coming into the squad from the U23s under the watchful eye of U23s Coach Nigel Langley.
Emmanuel Ujahchuku a constant threat for Bacup Borough when called upon
Further to our conversation the borough manager said: "Nigel Langley is doing a fantastic job with the U23s. When he came to the club we wanted to focus on creating that pathway for players to reach the first team, and recently showing that hard work is beginning to ring true with the introduction of several of Nigel's team coming through."
Jack Hayward in action against Atherton LR - A young player with a great deal of potential
Bacup Borough have a lot of football still to play and with injuries amongst the squad the manager is going to need that strength in depth right to the very end.
One player who has most definitely caught the eye of the supporters is Aidan Hussey. Last season Aidan played a lot of football through the middle alongside Callum Hewitt and the captain Michael Gervin, but due to competition for places he has found it extremely difficult to break into the starting lineup, that was until a serious leg fracture sustained by Ryan Siddle away at Atherton gave Hussey the opportunity.
Since then Aidan has made the right back position his own. He hit the ground running and never looked back. All credit to the Wythenshawe lad who was desperate to show the manager what he could do.
Aidan Hussey driving forward with intent during the game with Steeton AFC
This week alone borough will play Nelson FC, South Liverpool FC and Daisy Hill, followed by games against the top two in the North West Counties in Chadderton FC and Pilkington FC.
Strong opposition to contend with, but as we have seen right through the course of this season the determined, robust and versatile borough are a match for any team on their day.