CHAIRMAN Stewart Day has given club legend Ryan Lowe the chance to become the permanent BURY manager.
Bury fans chanted for Lee Clark to be sacked during and after last Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat by Doncaster, which left the Shakers 2nd-bottom of League One after 4 straight defeats. And on Monday he was gone – just 8 months after taking charge – along with his assistant Alan Thompson, with Day naming Lowe as caretaker boss.
The player-coach, 39, is now in his 3rd spell with Bury and has made no secret of his desire to move into management. And Day admits an appointment before next Saturday’s league game at Gillingham is unlikely so Lowe has at least three games to stake his claim, beginning with Sunday’s FA Cup tie at Woking.
“He’s a lad that wants to progress,” said Day. “I’ve got a fantastic relationship with Ryan, always have done, and I want him to succeed.
“We’ve got a big game on Sunday and it’s something we’re eager to win. It’s also seeing what the reaction of the players is. He’s got to get them positive and motivated, and if you start winning games and doing well, who knows where it can take you?
“Sometimes it’s good to appoint from within. If you’ve got the players and the personnel you think can do it, and if they want to perform and play for him, then we’ll see. Ryan’s got a support staff of Ryan Kidd and Chris Brass around him, so we’ll see how things progress and take it from there.”
Lowe can take heart from league rivals OLDHAM as few gave Richie Wellens a hope of getting the Latics job when he became caretaker boss in September. Then after 4 wins and a draw he was appointed ahead of United legend Paul Scholes.
“It just needs a bit of patience,” Day added. “We need the fans to be supportive, to get behind the team now. We’ve got Ryan in. He’s a fans’ favourite and he loves the club, but I wouldn’t have put him in charge if I didn’t think he was capable of motivating the players.
“I think he’s got the skill-set to do that, to drive them on. That’s what he needs to do, for now. He needs to help lift the team.
“The lads like him, he’s a positive guy and he wants the best for the club. He wants to be successful, he wanted to be given a go and I hope people get behind him.”
When he took over the club in 2013, Day announced he had a 5-year plan to get the club back into the Championship. That can’t have included sacking 2 managers mid-season – Clark and previously David Flitcroft in December 2013 – so the plan has gone awry slightly.
But Day still hopes that, if he can make the right appointment for Clark’s successor, the Shakers can still achieve his ambition of being promoted to English football’s 2nd tier inside 5 years of him taking over.
“We wanted to be knocking on the Championship door within five years,” he said.“If we don’t get into the Championship this season then we’ll have to look at doing it next season.
“I don’t want to be at a club that is happy to be in a division and doesn’t really want to fight for things. I want us to progress.”
Crystal Palace were 19th in the Championship when Iain Dowie took charge in December 2003, yet he led them to promotion that season. And only last term Sheffield United took one point from their first four games before cruising to the League One title.
“I made the decision now because there’s still 30 games left so there’s a lot of points to play for,” Day added. “We’ve seen it before. Clubs have been in worse positions than us and still managed to have a successful season.
“We’ve only played 16 games so who knows where we can be come the end of May?
“We’ve got to start getting up the league table, to take each game as it comes, and you never know. There’s always one club that has a late surge. When we got promoted (2014/15), we were about 12th in February and got into the top three, so anything can happen.”
Day spoke with the players on Tuesday morning to let them know what’s happening with the manager situation and what’s expected of them, although it’s unclear how strongly he made the latter point.
He spoke to Clark after the last-gasp defeat at Oldham last week and expected a reaction from the players against Doncaster. He didn’t get it. But Day is eager for a response at Woking, not least to avoid the embarrassment of being knocked out by a non-league club but to earn some much-needed prize money from the FA.
“I want to see how we perform on Sunday,” he added. “Woking will be right up for the game. Iot’s going to be a tough game but certainly a winnable one so we’ve got to go there, be professional and get into the second round because I want us to have a Cup run.
“We’ve spoken to the players, they know what we expect from them and they know where we are is not good enough. It’s a fresh challenge now so hopefully we can have a positive reaction, we’ll get a good result on Sunday then take each game as it comes.”