Rossendale Free Press

Boro a good bet for promotion: Wager


DEFENDER Gareth Wager believes the maturing squad at Bacup Borough can mount a genuine push for promotion this season.

Wager has been around the non league scene for well over a decade and is playing a fundamenta­l role in guiding the youthful crop of players at the Brian Boys Stadium through the current North West Counties First Division North campaign.

When asked about goals for the season, Wager was clear.

“Firstly, promotion for the club comes above everything else and with this squad I know we can achieve this,” he said. “There’s a lot of quality in the league this season with teams like Bury AFC, Golcar United and Pilkington all showing quality at the top of the league,

but we have put ourselves in a good position so you never know.”

The former Abbey Hey defender highlighte­d where he believed improvemen­ts had been made.

“Discipline has improved a great deal,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, we still occasional­ly get involved in the heat of the moment stuff, but not to the extent of previous seasons. Individual­s are stepping up their game and taking greater responsibi­lities both on and off the pitch. I don’t like to single players out because it’s certainly a team effort here at borough, but Kyle and Ryan Siddle have matured and come on leaps and bounds in the past twelve months in regards to attitude and applicatio­n.

“There have been times this season when they’ve both been tested by opponents. The late challenges and aggressive behaviour towards them has tested their resolve, and on many occasions they’ve taken a step back and dealt with the situation maturely rather than getting involved and picking up a yellow card.”

Wager’s preparatio­ns for the season were hardly ideal – but he managed to hit the ground running.

“I missed the start of pre-season training due to my house setting on fire, but trained briefly before playing in the pre-season friendly against FC United. I know it was only pre-season but even in that one match I could see that there was quality in the group. And on that day nobody would’ve known that there are four divisions between the clubs.

“Going into the season it was really important that the club managed to attain most of the players from the previous campaign and the experience of having that season under their belts was showing from the start.”

The experience­d defender also heaped praise on the manager Brent Peters and head coach David Felgate.

“Brent and Dave are brilliant with the lads,” said Wager.

“They’ve given more responsibi­lities and ownership to the players this season. The lads have their own Whatsapp group which is managed by our club captain Michael Gervin, another experience­d player. He organises training schedules and targets for the players and works closely with Jimmy Petruzzi, the club’s fitness and sports psychologi­st.

“We also have more say in the dressing room on match days where everybody has a voice. It definitely feels more mature and profession­al around the place. Without sounding patronisin­g, a lot of these boys have certainly turned into men over the past twelve to eighteen months and those qualities are showing on the pitch.”

The team’s performanc­es have been appreciate­d from the terraces at Brian Boys Stadium and beyond, something Wager said had not gone unnoticed in the dressing room.

“It’s been fantastic,” he said..” The players can’t thank the support enough. The crowds have doubled this season, and I honestly believe that it’s down to the brand of football we’re playing.

“Brent and Dave have principles on the way they want us to play and that often means on the counter attack with pace which creates excitement. The support both home and away does not go unnoticed by all the staff, and enjoying a drink after the games with the supporters is a real buzz that gives you sense that we’re all in this together, and that everybody around the place feels that something special is happening, I certainly do, and I’ve seen a lot of different teams and players during my time at the club.”

On a personal level, Wager has also set himself a couple of further targets.

“Promotion comes above everything else but my other two goals are to win the NWCFL player of the month and to hopefully make my 300th league appearance.”

Bacup Borough are away to Chadderton FC on Saturday. Kick Off 3pm

 ?? ?? Gareth Wager
Gareth Wager

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