Crowe wary of Wilkes’ men

Brig boss Neil Crowe
Brig boss Neil Crowe
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Bamber Bridge boss Neil Crowe is wary of former Brig player Steve Wilkes’ rock-bottom Padiham side’s bite.

Ex-PNE player Wilkes brings his NPL First Division North strugglers back to the Sir Tom Finney Stadium tomorrow.

The Storks boss played at Irongate for one season in 1992 and although Crowe’s men should expect to cruise to victory, the Brig boss is preparing for battle.

Crowe said: “On paper we should win.

“They got their first win in a while on Saturday and the thing about Padiham is that they won’t give up.

“I know Steve very well and it will not be an easy game.”

Crowe is not counting his chickens after Brig suffered their third successive league defeat against Harrogate Railway Athletic last weekend.

The Brig boss urged his men – who are 10th in the table – to take their chances and find that clinical touch in front of goal tomorrow.

He said: “For the last couple of weeks we haven’t been taking our chances.

“When we played Harrogate their keeper was named man-of-the-match.

“I don’t think it is a confidence issue but it is something we are working on in training.

“We are creating plenty of chances to win games but we are not doing it in front of goal.”

Young goalkeeper Harry Campbell has returned to Championship club Bolton after impressing as cover for Brig’s No.1 Lee Dovey, who returned to the fold against Harrogate after recovering from a knee injury.

But the shot-stopper’s return has caused Campbell’s work experience spell to end.

Crowe said: “Harry has done well for us. He has had a good run of games and he hasn’t done anything wrong and so it is unfortunate for him to be going back. But Lee is our No.1”

Crowe has re-signed central midfielder Curtis Thompson, while young striking prodigy Regan Linney became the first Brig academy player to make the step up to the first team.

Both players will be in contention for tomorrow’s game but defender Glenn Steel is a doubt with an ankle problem.

Crowe believes 17-year-old Linney has a bright future ahead.

The Brig boss said: “Regan played in a friendly for us against Nelson last week.

“He has been training with us and he looks a very promising prospect for 17.

“Curtis went to Skelmersdale at the start of the season because they were in the league above us. But he has come back because he wasn’t enjoying his football.”