Mike Burke fox in the box

NEW striker Mike Burke has become Stalybridge Celtic’s fox in the box following a return to the club where he played as a junior.

The 23-year-old’s first two goals for the Bower Fold club were in the Emirates FA Cup.

Burke opened the scoring in both the preliminary round win at Stocksbridge Park Steels and first qualifying round victory at home to Bishop Auckland.

It has been a giant two division leap for Burke from Staveley Miners Welfare who play in the premier division of the Northern Counties East.

Mike Burke

He had also previously played at Maine Road in the North West Counties League.

“I didn’t know what to experience in the highest standard I have played at and how I would do,” explained Burke who added he has settled in well.

“I expected to be playing with a lot of older, more experienced players, and was surprised to be one of the oldest players aged 23.”

Burke believes that has helped him settle quickly into the groove at Bower Fold.

He said: “Having a young team, in which there are no big egos, has helped.

“The gaffer (Simon Haworth) has also played a big part. He understands we have a young team and we will make mistakes and we will be naïve at times.”

Burke’s goalscoring exploits at Staveley impressed Haworth so much he decided to take a punt that he could reproduce it in the Northern Premier League’s premier division.

It has been a homecoming for Burke who played for Stalybridge Celtic Juniors as a boy.And though he was raised in Bury, Burke spent much time with his father who lives little more than a goal kick away from Bower Fold on Mottram Old Road.

Burke added his mother had also recently found a programme from May 2006 when he played for Juniors in a tournament on the Bower Fold pitch he now graces.

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