Bamber Bridge the perfect final friendly says Lancaster boss

Action from a previous meeting between Bamber Bridge and Lancaster City.
Action from a previous meeting between Bamber Bridge and Lancaster City.

Lancaster City boss Phil Brown believes Bamber Bridge will provide the perfect final warm-up ahead of the new season.

The Dolly Blues travel to the Sir Tom Finney Stadium to face their long-time rivals on Saturday in a game that pits last season’s First Division North champions against the League Cup winners.

It comes seven days before the Giant Axe club kick-off life in the Premier Division at Buxton on August 12.

“There’ll be a bit of edge to it for both sides,” said Brown.

“It’s the final friendly for both sides so players will be trying to catch the eye for the start of the season.

“It’s a pre-season game but it is a derby and that will make it a more competitive game.

“Brig want to do well this year, Renno’s (Bamber Bridge boss Neil Reynolds) gone on record and said as much, and there’s no reason why they can’t.

“It will be similar to the Atherton game on Tuesday night but might be just a slightly quicker game.

“Brig are more established at the level, the pitch is good and it’s a great setting for football.

“It will just move things up a notch in terms of intensity and lead us nicely into the Buxton game, especially with it being away from home.”

The Dolly Blues head into the Brig game on the back of victories at former boss Tony Hesketh’s Fulwood Amateurs, 3-0 on Saturday, and over North West Counties Premier Division champions Atherton Collieries, 4-2 at Giant Axe on Tuesday night.

“Saturday was a good workout, Fulwood always is,” said Brown.

“It’s always good to see Tony. It’s a big pitch and he wants his sides to play the right way.

“We scored three goals and could have had a few more.

“Fulwood did make us defend though and threatened so it was a good workout.

“It set us up well for Tuesday night which is the most realistic test, in terms of what we’ll come up against in the league, that we’ve had so far.

“It was competitive, against an Evo-Stik side, and gave us an idea of what to expect.

“It was a good performance and a good result.”

In terms of personnel Brown has had plenty of decisions to make in recent weeks and is hoping to add another new face to his squad in the coming days.

Young goalkeeper Luke Raybould will be allowed to go and find first-team football elsewhere with Chris Cheetham and Josh Powell set to battle it out for the gloves at Giant Axe this season.

Former Fleetwood youngster Oliver Muir, a left-sided defender attached to Myerscough College, featured in the Fulwood and Atherton friendlies and will be in and around the squad.

Leon Creech, an ex-Preston North End academy player who was with the Blues at the start of the off-season after his Deepdale release, returned to be part of City Reserves’ big win over Slyne-with-Hest on Tuesday night.

Ben Hudson also played in the game after coming back from illness.

Michael Taylor, a former Leeds professional who played in the Barrow defeat last week, looks like he will not be returning but another trialist, former Barrow winger Andy Haworth, did return to the Giant Axe fold with an appearance in the second half of the win over Atherton.