Bury still target League One play-offs despite derby defeat

David Flitcroft
MANAGER David Flitcroft insists there is no crisis at BURY, saying the Shakers will still target the League One play-offs this season.

Bury were second after a six-game winning streak but they’ve since lost six on the bounce after Monday’s 2-0 defeat at home to derby rivals Bolton. That has seen the Shakers slip to 11th in the table and some fans voiced their frustration towards Flitcroft towards the end of the televised game.

“In modern-day management, that’s viewed as a crisis,” Flitcroft said. “It happens at most clubs, and it’s because of the media.

“What we know in the dressing room is that when we stick together and support each other, we’re a very good group. We’ll keep working hard on the training ground and I do believe that when you keep applying that effort then your fortunes will change.

“There is a lack of confidence from the younger players. They want to do well and they don’t want to let either their team-mates or the supporters down. We just need to make sure we bounce back and claw that first win, or draw, then build out from that.”

Despite their recent run, Bury are still within three points off the play-off places, but this Saturday they visit newly-promoted Northampton, who climbed above the Shakers to eighth with a 4-2 win at Shrewsbury last Saturday.

Flitcroft added: “It’s my job as manager to protect the players and the staff from people saying it’s all doom and gloom, to drive them towards where we want to be this season and try to aim for those play-off spots. That’s something the players believe, that I believe, and it’s something we’ll really try hard to commit to and drive towards.”

Flitcroft said “there wasn’t a lot in the game” as Zach Clough converted a penalty early in each half to give Bolton their first league win at Gigg Lane since 1929. The Bury boss felt the young Bolton striker went down too easily for each of the spot-kicks, although Wanderers did make the best chances outside of the penalty incidents.

That made it a dismal reunion for the Shakers, with this their first league clash with Bolton in 17 years. Bury have also now suffered tame defeats in all three of the derbies they’ve played so far this season having lost 2-0 at Rochdale two weeks earlier while going down 1-0 at home to Oldham in August.

“I got here nice and early for the build-up to the game,” said Flitcroft. “The supporters waited a long time for it and it’s disappointing that we couldn’t give them a positive result. I’m gutted for that, and for the new supporters who might have come along to see a Bury-Bolton derby for the first time.

“We lacked a bit of invention. We put in too many crosses that David Wheater and Mark Beevers ate up. We didn’t move them around as much as I wanted.

“Any time we lose at home, our fans boo. That’s something we’ve got to respond to and we’ve got to make sure we give the supporters some positive results. I understand what supporters go through, I feel for them, but it’s my job to get this group of players together, in this run we’re on, and turn our form back around.”