FORGET relegation battles – Bury’s number one striker Daniel Nardiello has more pressing things on his mind.
Back-to-back wins at Wimbledon and Mansfield have given the Shakers a seven-point cushion over the League Two drop zone.
But it is the 10-point gap to the play-off places that has Nardiello’s attention.
The 31-year-old former Manchester United trainee hit 19 goals last season to help Rotherham United make a late-season push to automatic promotion.
And after banging in a brace in Tuesday night’s 4-1 demolition of Mansfield, taking his tally for Bury to seven this campaign, he is now focused on repeating the trick.
“I wouldn’t have signed if I thought we were in a relegation battle,” said Nardiello, who joined the Shakers on loan in November before making the move permanent last month.
“I don’t think any of the lads were thinking that.
“We have shown (on Tuesday tonight) how well we can do and how well we can play and I don’t think any of us are looking backwards, we’re looking forwards.
“Our recent form is up there with the best in the league. And while it (promotion) is a tough ask, I think we are going to go for it while we can.”
Only League Two leaders Chesterfield have amassed more points over the last six games, during which time Bury have been unbeaten with three wins and three draws.
The Shakers go into Saturday’s trip to Cheltenham – who lost 4-1 at home to the Spireites on Tuesday – knowing a win would see them move into the top half of the table for the first time since the end of August.
A 4-1 victory in the reverse fixture against the Whaddon Road outfit propelled Bury into a season-high position of 10th.
And Nardiello hopes, if results fall in their favour, they could return there this weekend.
“We are 15th now – one point off 12th – so it is all to play for and we are confident we can get higher in the table,” he said, but warned against complacency.
“I have got a couple of mates that play down there (Cheltenham) and I know they have some good players so we can’t go there thinking it’s going to be an easy game.
“We have got to try and perform like we did (on Tuesday night). We are confident we can go there and win the game but we have got to produce the goods on the day.”
Bury will have to do that without forwards Ashley Grimes and Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, who will both miss a minimum of two weeks with hamstring injuries.
Flitcroft has hinted he may return to the transfer market for a temporary replacement after allowing Tope Obadeyi to re-join Plymouth Argyle on loan.
But his defensive ranks will be boosted by Ipswich loanee Frederic Veseli, who has been allowed to remain at Bury for a third and final month.