City boss Phil Brown is ‘chuffed’ to secure the signing of midfielder Richie Baker

Richie Baker in action for AFC Fylde
Richie Baker in action for AFC Fylde

Phil Brown admitted he jumped at the chance to sign midfielder and former Preston North End youngster Richie Baker.

The 30-year-old became Lancaster City’s latest summer acquisition when he signed on the dotted line at the Giant Axe last weekend.

Having been a youth team player at Manchester United, Baker was released in 2005 when he was picked up by Preston.

Although he never made a first-team appearance at Deepdale, he did enough to earn a deal with Bury and enjoyed a four-year stint at Gigg Lane.

The Burnley-born ace has gone on enjoy spells at clubs such as Oxford United, Tamworth and AFC Fylde and spent last season at Curzon Ashton

He is no stranger to the City boss – the pair worked together at Stockport County and Brown admitted it was a no-brainer to bring him to the club.

“I have known Richie from my time at Stockport County,” said Brown.

“He impressed me a lot. He’s very technical and has also got a bit of an edge to his game.

“When I found out he was available after leaving Curzon Ashton, I was keen to bring him in.

“He is somebody who will come in and improve us. I am really chuffed and delighted to have got him.”

Brown was also really pleased to entice Steve Williams to sign another deal with the club.

The defender was hampered by fitness issues for a large part of last season.

Recovering from a double hernia, Williams worked extremely hard to get back on the pitch and eventually made 13 appearances for the Dolly Blues.

Brown is hopeful that with a full pre-season behind him, he will be able to make a full contribution to the team for the forthcoming campaign.

“Willo is a quality player,” said Brown. “I’m delighted to get him down back at the club .

“He’s played in the Football League and for some big non-league clubs.

“He’s spent a long time out of the game with a double hernia and that was always going to hamper him last season.

“He’s worked really hard to get his fitness back up to speed.

“Willo is a big powerful lad who is comfortable on the ball in both boxes so I’m really pleased he’s signed.”

The players report back to pre-season training this evening, with their first friendly game scheduled for a week on Saturday against Morecambe at Giant Axe.

The day has been earmarked as a Family Fun Festival. There will be attractions such as bouncy castles and facepainting for children and all money raised will be donated to the charity, Unique Kidz Co.