Ex-Dolly Blues keeper Hale not joining Brig

Mike Hale
Mike Hale

Bamber Bridge will not be signing Lancaster City’s title-winning goalkeeper Mike Hale.

The experienced 31-year-old announced his departure from Giant Axe earlier this month despite helping the Dolly Blues to the NPL First Division North Championship.

The former Fleetwood Town and AFC Fylde shotstopper decided that the increased commitment involved in playing in the Premier Division was too much to bear especially as he has a young family.

It was believed that Hale – who spent four years at City – would be back in the First Division North next season with Bamber Bridge .

Brig boss Neil Reynolds confirmed that he had held tentative discussions with Hale, but the pair had been unable to reach an agreement.

And Reynolds revealed he is more than happy with Brig’s current No.1 Lloyd Rigby, who ended the season between the sticks having displaced Steven James.

“To be honest I am not looking for a new goalkeeper,” Reynolds said.

“We are happy with Lloyd – he did great for us last season and is still my No.1.

“Mike expressed an interest that he would like to come to Bamber Bridge.

“We held tentative discussions. He told me what his wage was at Lancaster and we could not get anywhere near that. Mike’s a great goalkeeper and I am sure he will get a new club for the start of next season.

“I am working on a tight budget and I’m not prepared to break that to improve a position that does not really need improving because we have already got a very good goalkeeper in Lloyd.”

One player who will be reporting for pre-season training at Irongate is striker Sam Livesey, who has agreed to join from Salford City.

However, the former Preston North End youngster may first face a small operation on his knee and is due to undergo a MRI scan.

Reynolds admitted he has been left frustrated so far in his bid to further enhance his squad but was hopeful there will be some exciting news on the transfer front within the next week. He is in the market for a defender, midfielder and wideman, but is keen to ensure any new players will improve his existing squad.

Reynolds revealed that talisman Alistair Waddecar is close to putting pen to paper on a new contract, while former Brig captain Matty Kay has agreed to rejoin the club.

Meanwhile, Brig have confirmed the rest of their pre-season fixtures.

After games against Preston (July 7), Morecambe (July 11) and Chorley (July 15) at home, Brig travel to Squires Gates (July 22), Barnoldswick Town (July 29) and Longridge Town (August 1). They also face Lancaster at home on August 4.