STEVE Wilkes has revealed that Ryan Winder’s friendship with Tom Kilifin helped persuade the front man to leave Lancaster City.

The duo, teammates at the Northern Premier League club at the start of last season, will be again at Northwich Victoria when a new one starts in August.

“I’ve known Tom a long time,” the Vics boss told the Guardian.

“But the fact he’s mates with Ryan has obviously helped because he’d had somebody to ask what we’re all about.

“Tom told me he wasn’t getting a game regularly [at Lancaster] and he was finding that frustrating.

“To start with he wants to return to enjoying football again and I’m chuffed he feels he can do that with us.”

Winder joined Vics in February, and made his debut during a 3-1 victory against Sholing in the FA Vase last eight.

He went on to appear 14 times all competitions and is among those the club say has agreed terms to stay on.

Kilifin is dropping down two levels to follow the same path.

He netted 68 goals in close to 250 appearances for the Dollies, and bolsters part of the squad that needed reinforcements following the departures this summer of Jordan Darr and Brian Matthews to Clitheroe and Cheadle Town respectively.

With Joel Brownhill, Rob Doran and Darryhl Mason already on board, Wilkes is confident he has enough firepower to challenge for the North West Counties League Premier Division title.

They were outscored last term only by the teams that finished above them.

He said: “Every manager will tell you he wants a guy to get 30 goals a season.

“I’m not saying Tom is going to do that for us, but what he will do is take pressure of the others because he’s such a good finisher.”

He is one of three recruits announced by Vics this month.

Michael Wilson, a defender who counts landlords Witton Albion among his former clubs, will join after leaving Clitheroe.

Meanwhile midfielder Martin Grundy transfers from Kendal Town to fill a vacancy created by captain Brad Cooke’s exit to take over as manager at West Didsbury & Chorlton.