A NEW player hit the pitch of the Wanderers training ground this week.

He is not what you would expect for the usual team line up but has the passion of a life-long fan.

But before supporters get too excited he will only be performing for a short season among a very different set of players'.

Donning a team scarf, Bolton comic Stu Francis braved the wet and very windy Thursday weather for a kick-about with players.

Wanderers invited the comedian to their Lostock training ground to get some keep fit practice in before he hits the Macron Stadium stage next month as Wishee Washee in Aladdin at the Macron Stadium.

He said: "I've never been here before and they said why not come down and get fit for the pantomime – no one said it would more or less kill me!

"As a fan it's great to come here, see the lads – who are all very sweet – but this weather, what that's Winter Hill for you! It's definitely got the right name.

"You have to be fit to do panto, it's full on – bright, brash and colourful!

"Being local it's really nice for me to do a home show, it's better than being out on the road. I've done the panto at Bolton before and the audience is terrific and because I'm a local lad I like to slip in a few local references too."

Coaches Tony Kelly and David Lee put Stu, who is best known for hosting children’s television programme Crackerjack from 1979 to 1984 with Basil Brush, through his paces on the pitch at the Eddie Davies Academy.

They squared the former children's television show presenter up to the net with a few tries on goal and even having a go at a 'crossbar challenge'.

Despite it blowing a gale, the comic proved his skills were no laughing with a few of the balls flying in past former player Tony.

He said: "As long as they say I'm faster than David Lee, that will do me!"

And his coaches were happy to sing his praises – in particular in comparison to last year's panto star.

Tony added: "He was better than Keith Chegwin!"

Stu will join Joe Maw, Holly-Robyn Harrison , Dwain Haydn, Mike Raymond and Paul Flanagan in Aladdin, by the Gerry Graham Pantos and Productions, at the club’s Premier Suite from December 11 to 24.