Bury Town aiming for higher-league scalp against Lowestoft Town in Premier Cup
PUBLISHED: 17:19 22 March 2016 | UPDATED: 17:19 22 March 2016
Bury Town manager Ben Chenery has challenged his team to showcase their talents when the Blues face higher-league opposition, in the form of Lowestoft Town, in the Suffolk Premier Cup semi-final tonight (7.45pm KO).
The mid-table Ryman North outfit go head-to-head with the National League North strugglers at Needham Market, with a place against Ryman Premier team Leiston on offer in the final.
Bury are firmly entrenched in mid-table, following a difficult relegation last season, and with Chenery in the midst of a rebuilding programme, the former Football League defender admits he has one eye on next season.
Unlikely to be promoted, but safe from relegation, Chenery has a core of players he wants to keep at Ram Meadow for next season, but insists his plans are far from finalised, ahead of tonight’s clash at Bloomfields.
“There are still places open (in Chenery’s plans),” he said.
“But as an ex-professional footballer, I tend to look at the players’ performances over the course of a season, rather than the last six weeks perhaps, when players are maybe playing for new contracts.
“I have got a list of between six to eight players I would like to retain and then I would like to add to that, and have identified areas I would like to improve in terms of being more resilient and having more leaders.
“It’s been a tough season but I think we have adapted well and this is the perfect opportunity for the players to showcase their talents.”
Bury drew 1-1 in their latest league game on Saturday, at home to 10-man Thamesmead, Josh Mayhew scoring the Blues’ equaliser from the penalty spot on 74 minutes.
The draw represented Bury’s eighth league game without a win and Chenery believes his side could benefit from a change of environment tonight.
“It’s nice to have a break from league competition and play in a game against opposition from a higher league,” said Chenery.
“It will be a good test for our players and we have nothing to lose, we can express ourselves.
“The Suffolk Premier Cup represents our last chance to gain some silverware this season and it’s a competition we take seriously, although our priority is to finish as high as possible in the league.”
The west Suffolk side go into the semi-final having won the competition on 12 occasions, the last time being in 2014.
“It’s a competition that is close to Bury’s hearts and it’s one that the fans enjoy,” added Chenery, who will be without new signing Will Gardner and Ipswich Town loanee, forward, Nick Ingram for the game against the Trawlerboys.
Defender Gardner signed recently from Haverhill Rovers, following manager Michael Shinn’s exit, and made his debut in Saturday’s draw, while Ingram has scored four goals in 11 games since his temporary switch from Portman Road.
“Dan has got a game for Suffolk under-18s, so he won’t play,” explained Chenery, who does not have the luxury of a big squad from which he could make several changes.
“But he fits the profile of what I am looking for.
“He is raw in certain areas, but has a lovely left foot, good technique and just needs to learn the game a bit more.
“As for Nick, I am an admirer of Nick, he has got an old head on young shoulders.”