Brig gear up for high-flying Darlo

Paul McKenna and Sean Gregan during their time at Preston
Paul McKenna and Sean Gregan during their time at Preston
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Former Preston North End stalwarts Paul McKenna and Sean Gregan are to be reunited when Bamber Bridge host Darlington 1883 at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.

McKenna will be in the Brig midfield and Gregan on the touchline as a member of the Darlo coaching staff.

Both were key figures in North End’s Second Division title-winning side of 1999/2000 and then in the team which got to withing 90 minutes of the Premier League a year later.

Gregan is delighted to see McKenna’s talent back on the pitch after a year out of the game, although he knows his old team-mate will be a big threat to Darlington tomorrow afternoon.

“I think that Paul could play at a higher level than this,” Gregan told the Evening Post.

“He was always one of the fittest lads in the Preston squad and very under-rated – what he contributed to the side was so vital to our success.

“Paul is great on the ball and will keep the game ticking over with his range of passing.

“I haven’t seen him for a couple of years so it will be nice to catch-up afterwards.

“The last time I spoke to Paul he had just left Fleetwood after a loan spell.

“He was out of the game for a year or so before joining Brig and I think they have made a cracking signing.

“Paul must have missed the playing side and decided to get back into it.

“He’s doing what I had hoped to do after leaving the full-time game. I fancied having two or three seasons in non-league but I went and snapped my Achilles tendon playing for Kendal Town.

“During the game tomorrow Paul might have to put up with a bit of verbal from me!”

Darlington make the trip to Lancashire in second place, having seen their last two league games postponed due to the weather.

Neil Crowe’s Brig side are in seventh but have games in hand on the sides above them.

They will be looking to bounce back from Tuesday night’s 2-1 home defeat to Clitheroe in the Lancashire Trophy.

Meanwhile, Brig have lent out goalkeeper Lee Dovey to Longridge Town to help him regain match fitness after a knee injury.

Dovey picked-up the injury during the FA Cup defeat to Chorley in October and Brig have since signed Bolton youngster Harry Campbell on a work experience basis.

Crowe said: “Harry has done very well for us since he came in – he has been steady and he’s improved game by game.

“But ultimately Lee is my No.1 and at some stage he will return. I don’t know when exactly that will be but he has made a good start playing a full game for Longridge.”