Bamber Bridge boss tips Jamie Thomas to be a success after winning a deal with Preston
Preston North End's swoop for Jamie Thomas is an inspiring story for all players in non-league football
That is the view of Bamber Bridge boss Jamie Milligan who was delighted to see the 24-year-old attacking midfielder earn a professional deal at Deepdale.
Thomas was Milligan's marquee signing this summer after enticing him to the Sir Tom Finney Stadium from North West Counties outfit AFC Blackpool.
However, Thomas' fine form in pre-season alerted a number of clubs higher up the football pyramid.
And North End were keen to take a closer look at him after he scored twice against them in the annual pre-season fixture between the two clubs earlier this summer.
Under-19s Wales international Thomas - who was a trainee at Bolton and then snapped up by Burnley before being released in 2018 - had spent the past couple of years in non-league.
But he did enough to impress PNE boss Frankie McAvoy while on trial and was offered a one-year deal.
Although he is yet to make a league appearance for the club, he came on as substitute in the 3-0 victory over Mansfield Town in the Carabao Cup last week.
While losing Thomas was a blow for the Brig boss, he was made up to see him force his way back into the professional game.
And he has urged his current squad - which is full of youngsters - to use Thomas as an example of what could happen if they were to impress in Brig colours.
"It's been brilliant to see Jamie earn a deal with Preston," said Milligan, who played in the Premier League with Everton before going on to play for Blackpool and Fleetwood Town.
"He has worked his socks off to get in shape and he has dedicated himself to the game over the past six months.
"He was in a really good place which allowed him to earn his move.
"I have said to all the young lads that we have here that this is what could happen.
"I will never stand in anybody's way if they get the opportunity to go and player higher.
"So all credit to Jamie. I hope he goes on to really establish himself at PNE.
"I know they have not a great start, but there's a few clubs like that.
"I just think he needs to be patient and hopefully he will get his chance.
"I am sure if he does get his chance, he will take it because he's in great shape, he works hard and he's a very good footballer. I am sure he will do well."
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