LEE Clark was proud of his side after they pushed Championship side Sunderland all the way in the Carabao Cup.

The Shakers put up a spirited performance live in front of the Sky Sports cameras but fell just short as George Honeyman’s second-half strike proved the difference.

The midfielder provided the only piece of quality in the game to dink the ball over Joe Murphy from close range on the 69th minute.

Murphy had made a couple of decent stops earlier in the game to keep it goalless, not least to deny Aiden McGeady after the wide-man cut in from the left wing.

Bury showed signs of promise going forward, especially debutant Harry Bunn, but they never tested Sunderland shot stopper Jason Steele which in the end proved the difference between the sides.

“My players gave us absolutely everything,” Clark said. “Did we deserve to win? Probably not. Could you say it was a fair result on reflection of chances? Possibly.

“We gave everything, we worked hard, we were organised and they’ve had one or two opportunities in the last 10 minutes because we’re taking risks that we wouldn’t normally be taking.

“Of course we wanted to win tonight but League One is our main aim. We want to be right in the mix in the league campaign.

“I wanted the lads to give a good account of themselves and they have done that.”

Bury were dealt a massive blow when skipper Stephen Dawson was forced out of action, carried off on a stretcher early with just 10 minutes played.

The tough-tackling Irishman looked in serious pain as he left the field and Clark says he is waiting for a full assessment of the damage but admits it does not look good.

“We lost our captain to what doesn’t look a great injury,” Clark added. “He is in a lot of pain so there isn’t much assessing that can happen while he is in that much pain.

“It’s absolutely unreal this knee injury situation.

“Most injuries we have had this season have all been knees, I don’t know what the situation is at.

“It’s strange because we said we wanted to stop the situation of last year. We have because we have no soft-tissue injuries now, it’s compact and impact injuries. We have got five of those in the treatment room already so it is a bit of a killer for us.”

Clark must now decide who takes the captain’s armband in Dawson’s absence and defender Tom Aldred is the main contender after donning the armband following Dawson's departure.

Clark said: “Tom has been a captain before. He captained Blackpool to promotion before, he is experienced at that. There are three or four possibilities.”

Bury (5-3-2): Murphy 6; Jones 6, Thompson 6 (Ismail 59, 6), Aldred 6, Whitmore 6, Leigh 6; Dawson 6 (Tutte 17, 6), Reilly 6, Dai 6 (Beckford 71, 6); Ajose 6, Bunn 7.

Unused subs: Fasan, Cameron, Humphrey, Lowe.

Sunderland (4-4-2): Steele; Matthew, Browning, O’Shea, Galloway; Honeyman, N’Dong, Gibson, McGeady (Asoro 59); Khazri (Gooch 77), Grabban (Vaughan 45).

Unused subs: Ruiter, Kone, Love, Rodwell.

Referee: Robert Jones (Merseyside)

Attendance: 3,470 (934 visiting)