Crowe backs Ben to find back of net

Ben Wharton
Ben Wharton
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New signing Ben Wharton could be the man to solve Bamber Bridge’s goalscoring problems.

That is the view of manager Neil Crowe who swooped for the 6ft 2in target man last week.

The 26-year-old is an experienced campaigner in non-league football after being released by League Two outfit Rochdale at the age of 18.

Having enjoyed stints with Warrington Town, Radcliffe Borough and more recently Colne, Crowe has been well aware of Wharton’s talents for many years.

He almost signed him last year, but the striker eventually opted for a move to Holt House.

In 20-odd appearances for the Reds, Wharton notched 11 goals but surprisingly he became available for transfer and Crowe wasted no time in snapping him up.

Although his debut at Ossett Town ended in a disappointing 2-0 loss at Ossett Town, Crowe saw enough to believe that his new signing can provide the midas touch in the penalty area.

Brig are currently on a five-match losing streak and have only found the back of the net twice over that period.

“I’ve been trying to sign Ben for over 12 months,” Crowe said. “When he became available from Colne last week, I jumped at the chance of signing him.

“He is someone that we have not really had at Bamber Bridge or not had for a long time. He’s a target man and good in the air, but he’s also good with his feet.

“He’s got a turn of pace so I’m really pleased to have signed him. It was never going to just happen for him overnight on Saturday at Ossett.

“But I thought he did well and worked hard.

“He had three or four chances which he was a bit disappointed he did not take but I am sure he will do once he settles in.We are a team which always create chances.

“There’s a lot of gifted players in our squad so we are always going to create chances; it’s just our finishing, which has been letting us down.”

Crowe also handed a start to another new signing Ramirez Haworth, who arrived on loan from Blackburn Rovers on the same day as Wharton.

The 19-year-old versatile attacker has yet to make a first-team appearance at Ewood Park and has moved to Irongate for a month to gain some valuable experience.

This weekend, Brig will look to end their winless run when they welcome second-bottom Goole AFC to the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.

After topping the NPL First Division North table last month, Brig have dropped to eighth in the table.

However, Crowe is confident his men will turn their fortunes around, starting tomorrow.

“They are a close-knit bunch,” he said. “In the dressing room, they are all together. They want to get out of this bad run and we have got too much quality not to get out of it.”

Brig will be without skipper Matt Lawlor, who was red carded against Ossett while there are doubts surrounding the fitness of Jamie Milligan and Adam Dodd.

Winger Alistair Waddecar is still some way short of fitness as he struggles with a mystery knee injury. The talismanic forward has not kicked a ball since limping off against Lancaster City in August.

Crowe admitted the player’s long absence is a big concern.

“Ally is missing - he’s been out for nearly 10 weeks now,” he added. “His knee does not seem to be getting any better. He’s a big miss because he’s such a massive player for us.”