New boy Simon can inspire Brig

Simon Lakeland during his first spell at Bamber Bridge
Simon Lakeland during his first spell at Bamber Bridge

Neil Crowe is hoping the capture of midfielder Simon Lakeland can spark his Bamber Bridge team into life.

The versatile midfielder, who is technically gifted, has been enticed back to Irongate after spending the previous four seasons with Curzon Ashton.

The 24-year-old has been an integral member of the Curzon team, which has risen up the football pyramid to its current position in the National League North.

It is thought The Nash were keen on keeping Lakeland at the Tameside Stadium, but he has grown tired of all the travelling involved at that particular level of football.

Crowe will be hoping Lakeland can provide the catalyst for Brig to go on a streak of wins after an indifferent start to the season.

Billed as one of the 
pre-season title favourites in the NPL First Division North, Crowe’s men currently find themselves below mid-table and well off the pace at the top of the table.

“Simon was with us about four years ago, but Curzon came in and took him,” Crowe said. “He’s been there ever since and I don’t think they wanted to lose him.

“They have gone up to the Conference North but I think all the travelling was becoming a bit of a bugbear for him.

“He lives in Ribchester and having to go over to Manchester two or three times a week was becoming a bit too much for him.

“He became available, we had a chat and he signed for us this week.

“Simon can play anywhere across the midfield and can also play at full-back.

“He’s a good utility player and will be a very good addition to the squad. At 24, he’s quite an experienced non-league player and it’s a feather in our cap that he’s agreed to come to us.”

Lakeland is expected to go straight into the squad for tomorrow’s clash against Spennymoor Town at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.

The Moors reached the play-offs last season and are looking good for another promotion tilt this time around.

They are currently in fifth spot in the league – 11 points clear of Brig, who are down in 14th spot.

Crowe admits that the game is must-win for his team if they are to start clawing some ground back on the teams at the top end of the table.

“We are just not consistent enough at the moment,” Crowe said.

“We are not scoring enough goals and are conceding too many. There are too many draws at the moment.

“Spennymoor are a very strong team, but it’s a game we need to win if we have any designs on getting into a play-off position.

“We need to start putting a run together and closing the gap at the top of the table.”

Brig were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Lancaster City on Saturday – a match Crowe felt his side should have won, although he praised his players’ character for finding an equaliser.

The two teams were set to do battle again on Tuesday night in the Doodson Cup, but the match was postponed by the referee at the 11th hour – a decision which baffled the Brig boss.

Winger Ally Waddecar is still on the long-term causalty list with medial knee ligament damage and Crowe admitted he was not sure how long he would be out for.

Elsewhere in the division, Clitheroe host Farsley Celtic, Burscough travel to Mossley and Kendal host Ossett Albion.