Jack Bainbridge says that Southport’s style of play was a major factor in bringing him back to his hometown club.
Following a strong stint whilst on trial with the club, the 22-year-old signed for the Port prior to the pre-season game against Barrow last Saturday.
The centre back believes that he fits in well with the way the club are trying to play and has plenty to offer his new side.
He said: “It was one of the main things that made me want to come to Southport. I had played three at the back a few times at Sunderland, so when Liam approached me, it was perfect as it suits me well. It’s how I want to play, because I like to step up with the ball into midfield and create chances, as well as defending.”
Bainbridge made two appearances playing a similar system for Sunderland in the EFL Trophy, as well as making an appearance off the bench in the Emirates FA Cup.
“I played three at the back at that level so I knew I could come in and hopefully do well in this team. I want to help get the club where it wants to be.”
The young defender says that he is enjoying life at Haig Avenue so far and has settled well into life at the club.
“It’s all good, the gaffer and the boys have been sound, everyone has helped me to settle in really well.”
He continues, “We got the deal over the line before the Barrow game, so when I played a bit of nerves went away because I had finally signed and become a Southport player.”
View this post on Instagram
After months of being without a club during in lockdown, the centre back is pleased to be back as part of a team.
“I was just training by myself during lockdown, so it was good to play proper football again. You don’t lose motivation going to a field by yourself every day, but you do wish that you were in the team environment so you can egg each other on and have the banter. It certainly makes you more determined.”
The 22-year-old knew that he needed to impress throughout his trial with the club.
“I’ve been let go by teams before so it’s about how you bounce back, so have to come on trial and do well. Luckily Liam (Watson) liked me, after I played the game at Marine, he was interested in me.”
This summer is not the first time that Bainbridge has taken to the pitch at the Pure Stadium.
“I used to be at Southport when I was a kid playing Sunday league. I remember coming to Haig Avenue when I was ten, watching the games and playing on the pitch at half time, feeling like a player. I have lived away from home for three or four years, so it is good to be back.
“Everyone is buzzing, especially my dad who used to be a manager because he can now come watching me. He used to trek to Sunderland to watch me, but for my grandparents it is good as they are not as mobile so couldn’t make the trip every day.”
The centre back spent time in the youth systems of Everton, Swansea and Sunderland, and believes he can bring what he has learnt into the side.
“I know that clubs act differently, so I can take experience from each of them. I haven’t got a bad word to say about Everton, they’re a professional club with a load of good people around it, so it was the perfect set up.”
With experience of playing U23s football, the 22-year-old has seen the difference between that and competing in the non-league.
“It is a lot more physical with more challenges and headers. U23s is a bit more technical and conservative in terms of playing out from the back. If you misplace a pass in mens football then you will be taken, or even dragged off. It is just about finding a balance and adapting to it.”
Bainbridge is excited for the start of the campaign, believing that the team is capable of success this season in the Vanarama National League North.
“As soon as I came in, it felt good, with everyone being fit and strong. We are quite exciting in the way Liam (Watson) has got us playing, we have got a shape and are compact. We’ve also scored some goals, so I’m looking forward to getting underway.
“I feel like we are good enough to go all the way. Of course, there are a lot of good teams around us, but we have got a good side and a strong setup so there is nothing stopping us, except ourselves.”
The ex-Sunderland defender is also hoping to be an integral part of the first team and contribute in pushing the side forward.
“My personal target is just to start playing, because I have only ever played U23s. I want to cement my place in the side and just play week in week out and try to get Southport to the playoffs or higher.”
The season will kick off on the 3rd October with an Emirates FA Cup tie, which Bainbridge feels is an excellent way to begin the new campaign.
“It’s massive, everyone will be fighting to win. Having played in it before, I know it is a massive cup and will get the ball rolling for the season.”
Written by Amos Wynn