by The Boy Holty
(August 5, 2011)
Well the new season kicks off for Bury tomorrow and excitement / trepidation is higher than usual as last season's heroics means that we're lining up against league one opposition rather than the fourth division rubbish we've become accustomed to over the last nine seasons of general mediocrity.
There hasn't been much transfer movement this season, in fact I can't think of a less interesting close season in terms of new faces coming in to the club. So let's have a look at the squad for the 2011/12 season.
In goal we have Cameron Belford with Ritchie Branagan as backup.
In central defence we have Sodje and new signing Mark Hughes as probable first choice with Futcher, Zach Rothwell and Andrei Jones in reserve.
We have Picken and Skarz as full backs and we don't have any cover here that I can think of although Worrall did a good job towards the end of last season when he came in for Picken.
Our midfield is pretty strong with Schumacher, Mozika and Sweeney to choose from in the middle plus Max Harrop. We have Jones, Worrall and Howarth in the wide positions but no further cover.
Up front there's Lowe, Bishop, John-Lewis, Mark Cullen (signed on loan from Hull until January) and Luke McCarthy.
If we hope and pray that Mark Hughes is an adequate replacement for Tom Lees, and that Bishop comes back firing on all cylinders then we might not miss Lees and Ajose too much but we still potentially lack invention in midfield. Richie Barker has been asked about the fact that three key players have left and only two have been brought in and his response has been to point out that Ajose only joined the club in Septemnber and had two or three months out injured, and that Kyle Bennett was hardly used until the last couple of months of the season so its not like we've lost players who kept us up there for the whole season. The man seems to talk a lot of sense and hiring him as manager could yet turn out to be a masterstroke on the part of a board who only seem to make good decisions these days.
Richie Barker has looked at dozens of triallists but none have been signed and when interviewed about this, RB has simply stated that none of the triallists were any better than the players he already has at the club. I don't yet know if that is really promising, or just a sign of the naivety on his part that comes with his inexperience. Only time will tell if the squad is good enough for this league.
So we head to the Galpharm tomorrow and who knows what to expect? Certainly not me and i'll be as unsurprised with a 4-0 drubbing as I will with a cheeky 1-1 or even a 1-0 away win. You'd probably be a fool to bet on a Shakers win, or even a successful season for the Gigg Lane boys, but you'd be a bigger fool to bet against us.
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