PNE set for annual Brig test

Josh Heaton could line up for Brig against former club North End

Josh Heaton could line up for Brig against former club North End

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Bamber Bridge boss Neil Crowe thinks his Brig side will provide a good first test of the pre-season for Preston North End.

The sides meet in their annual friendly at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium, Crowe’s men warming-up for it with a 6-3 win at West Didsbury and Chorlton on Tuesday night.

Crowe, a lifelong PNE fan, always looks forward to the clash and hopes it attracts a bumper crowd to the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.

“This is a fixture which goes back a number of years and it will be good to see Preston down here again,” said Crowe.

“Being a Friday night, it could very well give the crowd a boost.

“When the game has been played in midweek, we have got more than 1,000, so maybe there will be more this time.

“This will be our second game this week – we played at West Didsbury the other night.

“We wanted to play a game before facing Preston, get the lads back into the swing of things and get the rust off.

“It was a good game against West Didsbury – they are in the division below us in the North West Counties League.

“We won 6-3., Regan Linney scored four goals and had an excellent game.”

North End could be facing one of their former players, Josh Heaton having turned out for Brig at West Didsbury.

Crowe would very much like to sign the young centre-back, who was released by PNE at the end of last season.

“I’m hoping to get Josh – he played very well on Tuesday night,” said Crowe.

“Last week he had a trial at Reading, so there are other clubs looking at him.

“Josh wants to try and get back in the professional game but if he doesn’t do that, he is more than happy to sign for us.

“He lives in Penwortham, is a big lad and would be a great addition for us.

“We will see how things go and hopefully he will play against North End.”

This will be Crowe’s sixth season as Brig boss and after a tough 2015/16 campaign in which they finished 12th, he is looking for better this time.

One of the problems last term was the postponement of a number of home games because of drainage problems.

Said Crowe: “The pitch is looking great now, it is like a carpet – you wouldn’t think it was the same one which we had all those problems with.

“The drainage was repaired during the season and other work has been done during the summer.”