'These are testing times when we need to show our mettle' - Bury Town boss Chenery
PUBLISHED: 09:00 14 December 2019
Bury Town boss, Ben Chenery, remains very upbeat despite the proliferation of injuries at Ram Meadow, plus finally losing top spot in the Isthmian League North last weekend.
The Blues had been setting the pace for the last few weeks, although their 3-0 defeat at Histon last Saturday, combined with Maldon & Tiptree's 1-0 victory at Hullbridge Sports, has seen them drop to third.
In fact, Bury are level on points with three other clubs, in second-placed Aveley, Heybridge Swifts and Coggeshall Town, while today's visitors Grays Athletic are only one point behind in sixth position, just outside the play-off zone.
"It's all very tight near the top, and we have certainly exceeded expectations," explained boss Chenery.
"I think we've been fantastic, with what we've achieved so far, to be in the top five in December.
"Last weekend was only our second league defeat of the season, so it's all been very positive.
"We've got this difficult period, where we've been hit by lots of injuries and the pitches are heavy, but it would be good if we could get beyond this and still be in a similar position going into January and February."
Chenery's squad has been decimated by injuries, and long-term ones at that, with centre-halves Ollie Fenn and Taylor Hastings, Joe White and Ryan Horne all out of action for long periods - midfielder Horne's knee injury will keep him out for about 10 months.
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"We're really stretched at the moment," continued Chenery.
"In addition to all the long-term injuries, we will be without the two young Ipswich Town lads, Tommy Smith and Alex Henderson - they will be needed to play for Ipswich in the FA Youth Cup.
"So all of a sudden, from initially having a healthy squad of about 19 players, we are down to a squad of 13 or 14.
"So these are testing times, but that's when we have to show our mettle."
As regards today's match, at Ram Meadow, Chenery confirmed: "It's another tough fixture.
"We played OK at Histon (3-0 defeat). It wasn't a 3-0 game. The pitch was borderline unplayable, and it certainly didn't suit our style of play against a very physical and direct Histon side.
"But there's no cause for concern, even following this defeat. We are still in a very good position.
"We just need to get back into the groove. We are at home, although we have to be mindful of Gray's threats, because they are always a good football club."
Before last weekend's defeat at Histon, Bury's only league defeat had been a 2-1 home loss to Tilbury. Grays drew 0-0 with Coggeshall Town last Saturday.