Q&A With Bury

  • August 12, 2014 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/0a8be

Ahead of the 76th meeting between Bolton and Bury on Tuesday evening, we have got the views of a Shakers supporter.

Wanderers go into the game on the back of a 3-0 defeat at Watford on the opening day of the season, while Bury were beaten 1-0 at home by Cheltenham Town on the same afternoon.

In our latest edition of Q&A, we have spoken to Adam Ingram. Adam is a Bury supporter of over 20 years, having attended his first game in January 1993 - a 1-0 victory over Wigan Athletic in an FA Cup 2nd round replay, at Gigg Lane. His favourite all-time Shakers player is Chris Lucketti, who captained the side from non-league to Division One, while Ryan Lowe is his pick from the current crop.

Ahead of Tuesday's game, Adam shares his views on Bury's promotion chances this season, the rivalry between the two clubs and the Shakers' opinions of former players John McGinlay and David Lee.

Q: Bury's problems, both on and off the field, have been well documented over the last 10-15 years, to such an extent that your Football League status looked perilous last season. David Flitcroft came in and steadied the ship, leading you to a respectable mid-table finish. What are your hopes for the season ahead?

A: Our hopes for this season are obviously promotion back to League One. The new board came in last summer, when financial difficulties arose again. Basically, we had got promoted in 2011 with a small but quality squad which started to break up during our first season in that division under Richie Barker. However, we had a strong enough start and finish to the season and finished comfortably in mid-table that year. But the season after was an absolute shambles. From the manager leaving three days before the season started, to slow and poor recruitment - waiting a total of six weeks before looking for a new manager and being placed under two separate transfer embargoes after seeking financial help from the PFA. We were really on the back foot and never fully recovered.

The new manager, Kevin Blackwell, seemed to rally the troops with a couple of good young loan signings and results did pick up. However, Blackwell seemed to alienate the fan base and the players, which most, if not all, now despise him for. He's really up there with Neil Warnock in the bracket of worst managers in the history of Bury, despite his repeated claim that his win percentage across his career was 44%. This figure was severely dented in his time with us! I tend to cut him more slack than most - he worked in terrible conditions, but he always seemed to shoot himself in the foot with the fans.

Following our inevitable relegation and the new board coming in last summer, they stuck by Blackwell purely due to the lack of time offered before the new season arrived. The club was given a fresh start but, ultimately, we were again on the back foot compared to everyone else, after only retaining a handful of first-team players. We were last season's Blackpool! On the first day of pre-season training, we had something like 40 trialists turn up!

Despite enduring a lot of ups and downs last season, the board had steadied the ship during the second half of the campaign. Blackwell was sacked with us languishing 20th in League Two. Bringing in David Flitcroft brought a methodical, purposeful and professional approach that I cannot imagine has ever been seen down at Gigg (JD Stadium). This season, we have to be aiming for the top-three. The calibre of player is not only good enough for our division, but would no doubt compete in the league above. The likes of Ryan Lowe, Nicky Adams, Danny Nardiello, Jim McNulty, Pablo Mills, Shwan Jalal and Kelvin Etuhu all joined us from clubs in higher divisions and we have assembled our best squad for many a year. I sincerely hope we don't slip into the play-offs either, as I know I cannot make the final at Wembley due to a wedding commitment! So come on Shakers, do the business in 46 games!

Q: A number of former Bolton players have turned out for the Shakers in recent years. Rob Lainton is currently on the books at Gigg Lane, but was loaned out to Burton Albion in the second half of last season. He was once very highly regarded at Wanderers, but appears to be in danger of disappearing into obscurity. What sort of future do you see him having?

A: Rob Lainton was brought in by Kevin Blackwell last summer, following recommendation from our goalkeeping coach and former Bolton man Fred Barber. Despite everyone's assumption that he would be a young number two to our regular 'keeper, Trevor Carson, he was in goal for the start of the season, following a fallout between Carson and Blackwell. Despite making some good solid saves during these opening games, he was playing behind a shaky and newly formed defence, which did him no favours and he did make the odd mistake which led to goals. Carson was brought back in following our indifferent start to the season and Lainton was even relegated below youngster Reece Charles-Cook as the keeper chosen to sit on the bench most weekends last season.

However, Lainton is back in the fold now as the squad has settled down over the summer. He is a solid number two to Jalal and will no doubt get a run out in the smaller cup competitions, to show what he can do to earn himself another contract at the end of this season. I think there is a 'keeper in there and he'll no doubt be given a platform to show that at Bury.

Q: John McGinlay and David Lee are just two names to have represented both clubs. They will forever live in Wanderers folklore, but had spells at Bury before their time at Burnden Park. Do you, or any older members of your family, have any memories of either player?

A: Looking back at Shakers players who have gone on to play for Wanderers, David Lee is the standout one. He is probably lauded by the Bury fans to the same extent with which Bolton hail the success he had at your club. I was too young to see him play live, but, from what I have seen of him via clips on YouTube, he was some player. My Dad and work colleagues that I know went when he was in his pomp at Gigg ran out of superlatives to describe him. His ability to beat a man and cross a ball, or even some of the astonishing strikes he created for himself, will always mean he is fondly remembered on the terraces at Gigg Lane.

'Super' John McGinlay, however, is placed in Bury folklore for all the wrong reasons. Despite becoming a hero for scoring a hat-trick against you for us in his earlier career, his move to Bolton and what was seen as a career-threatening tackle on Bury goalkeeper Gary Kelly during a derby game at Burnden in the early 90s, which left Kelly out for months, has left a sour taste in the mouths of our fans. Again, this was just before my time, but I still hear the story about him now so it must have annoyed those who saw it!

Q: Aside from several pre-season friendlies, Bolton and Bury haven't met in a competitive fixture since October 2002 - when the Shakers were 1-0 winners in a League Cup tie at the Reebok Stadium. With games between the clubs being so infrequent in recent years, do you still see the fixture as a rivalry?

A: As you can see from some of the comments above, I think the majority of Bury fans still see the game against Bolton as our main footballing rivalry - due to the regularity of playing each from the 60s through to the 90s. One of the main reasons for being elated at being back in Division One in 1998 was knowing that there was going to be another couple of fixtures against Bolton, following your relegation from the Premier League. It wasn't so great being hammered 4-0 at the Reebok, but ultimately so sweet to win the reverse fixture 2-1 at Gigg Lane under the lights and in the gaze of the Sky Sports cameras.

Our win at the Reebok in 2002 was the first time I can remember us winning a fixture against a bigger team in a classic 'cup upset'. We had been so bad in the cup competitions since I became a fan, it was embarrassing!

As the younger generation of fans have come through the gates at Gigg Lane, their rivalry is seen as Rochdale. In the same way, I am sure that most younger Bolton fans will consider Manchester United as their main rivals, more due to the regularity with which you have played them in the more recent past than you have us. We've had some great games with them and nothing does beat a local derby fixture, but Bolton is still above that as I grew up with them being our main rivals. If our chairman makes his dream of Championship football in five years a reality, then, who knows, we could be playing with more regularity again!

Q: It's always difficult to predict a team selection for a cup tie, but who do you see being the key player(s) on each side on Tuesday night?

A: I would expect our team selection to be the same as that which succumbed to Cheltenham Town on Saturday. Flitcroft is not afraid of making changes but I think he'll give his team another chance to show what they can do before doing anything too drastic. I would have thought that with a bit more time and space to play against Wanderers, that we'll have a better time of it.

The key players for us will be down the wings and our ability to get balls into the box for the predatory Lowe and Nardiello. Adams and Danny Mayor will be integral to this, but look out for the full-backs - Craig Jones and Chris Hussey - to bomb on in support.

Naturally, you would expect Bolton to have more of the ball and be able to keep it better. Obviously, I recognise many of the names in the squad from other Premier League and Championship teams. I understand Mark Davies is the key player, but he continues to be plagued by injury. Craig Davies was a good player at Chesterfield a few years ago and I would expect him to give McNulty and Mills a hard time at the back - and this should be a good contest.

Q: Finally, share a score prediction with us. Can Bury advance into the second round, or will Bolton live up to their Championship status?

A: I have a feeling there will be goals tonight. We haven't been exactly tight at the back during pre-season, but we have scored as well.

I'll be positive and say that we'll grab a 3-2 victory, with an extra-time winner from Lowe. I'll take that!

Burnden Aces would like to thank Adam for taking the time to answer our questions. You can read more from him on Twitter - @IngersSwingers.

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