Striker Johnstone in Brig U-turn

Bamber Bridge striker Greg Johnstone
Bamber Bridge striker Greg Johnstone
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Bamber Bridge have been boosted by the shock return of striker Greg Johnstone.

The target man announced he was leaving the club in June after enduring a season blighted by injury.

He suffered a badly broken leg in October which resulted in him missing a large chunk of the year.

Johnstone returned towards the end of the campaign, scoring 12 goals as Brig narrowly missed out on promotion from the NPL First Division North.

But it appeared that the injury had taken its toll on him and he informed manager Neil Crowe that he did not wish to be part of the Brig squad for the forthcoming season.

However, since then, Johnstone has had a change of heart and rejoined the club earlier this month.

He is set to lead the line for Brig on Saturday as the team travels to face North West Counties Premier Division outfit Runcorn in a pre-season friendly.

Crowe praised Johnstone’s cameo display after he came on as a substitute during the 2-0 friendly defeat to Preston North End at the newly christened Sir Tom Finney Stadium on Tuesday.

He said: “Greg had a change of heart. When he’d had a couple of weeks to think about leaving he just decided that he missed it, so he asked if he could come back and I said yes.

“He’s been here 18 months, maybe a bit longer.

“I thought he did well when he came on in the second half against PNE.

“He put himself about and won a few headers.”

Despite losing to PNE, Crowe was pleased by his side’s work ethic and he was overjoyed with their 3-1 victory over newly-promoted local rivals Chorley.

He believes that their pre-season performances against higher league opposition have boosted their chances of league success this term.

He said: “I think it was hard work to be honest because of a fitness thing.

“We knew it was going to be hard work.

“We wanted to use it as a training session, a hard workout and that is what it was.

“We tried to play football but it just shows that when you make a mistake – like giving away a penalty – against lads at this level they punish you.

“It’s given us confidence. We played Chorley on Saturday and I thought we were the better side for a lot of the game.

“It was a very good game to watch for a neutral and it gauges how far our lads have come.

“Our lads can play well against a Conference North side so it bodes them well for the new season. And we are looking forward to starting on August 16.”