When news happens, text BONEWS and your photos to 80360 or phone 01204 537274
Bury poised for season-defining week
KEVIN Blackwell believes his Bury side go into the biggest week of the season so far with their destiny still in their own hands – for now.
The Shakers face three games against teams in the bottom six – travelling to basement club Portsmouth at the weekend, before consecutive home matches against Scunthorpe, on Tuesday, and Colchester United next Saturday.
Win all three and the Shakers boss is adamant his side’s survival chances will remain in their own hands right up to the end of the season.
But, with Bury currently eight points adrift of safety, defeats in any of the matches could see their challenge fizzle out completely.
Not that Blackwell will give up the fight until survival is mathematically impossible.
“We believe we will need at least six wins and two draws from the remaining 11 games,” said Blackwell.
“While we have got the games left to get those points, we have got to believe that we can get the results we need.
“So it’s not do or die, but you can’t escape the fact that this week will go a long way to deciding how our season will pan out.
“So it’s a big week.”
Blackwell reacted angrily after last weekend’s 2-0 defeat at home to Crawley Town, admitting he was shocked by an abject performance that was totally out of character.
The Bury boss is concerned his players may have choked, and has attempted to diffuse the tension during this week’s preparations.
“The players have worked hard to at least get to a point where they can try and have a go at creating their own destiny,” he said.
“That’s why Saturday was such a step backwards.
“The players have got to handle the pressure of going into these games knowing that they have to win.
“After what happened, I have tried to keep training this week as low key as possible.
“But the players realise that it is all or nothing, and that kind of pressure will get to them, so in a way we’ve got to keep them away from that way of thinking.”
Bury’s preparations, already hampered by a transfer embargo, have not been helped by news that key midfielder Tom Soares will be out possibly until the end of the season with a hamstring injury he picked up in the Crawley match.
“Should Tom regain his fitness for the final few games of the season, then it will be classed as something of a bonus,” said Blackwell.
The Bury boss also remains pessimistic about the chances of on-loan defender Stephane Zubar returning, despite news to the contrary from the player himself.
While the Bournemouth centre-back tweeted news of a possible recovery last weekend, Blackwell says scans have shown the 26-year-old has suffered a slight tear of his anterior cruciate ligament, which will stop him training for at least two months.