LEE Clark was not afraid to admit he made a mistake over centre-back Adam Thompson after sending the summer signing out on loan just three games into his Bury career.

The Northern Ireland international moved from Southend in the close season on a free transfer, but immediately fell down the pecking order at the Energy Check Stadium.

It seems the 24-year-old paid the price for his part in two poor defensive displays – in defeats at Wigan and at home to Bristol Rovers – when Bury shipped seven goals.

And Clark was convinced to allow Thompson to join Bradford on a season-long loan after fellow centre-back Nathan Cameron, who had been out injured for 12 months, proved his fitness in a commanding display in a goalless draw at Rochdale last weekend.

“Whether I have brought players in myself over the summer, whether I have inherited players or given players who were already here new contracts, I treat them all the same,” said Clark.

“When you get the chance to perform, you have to deliver.

“I’ve made it plain and simple, I want this club to be in the top six and the players have to deliver those performances.

“When you concede seven goals in two games like we did against Wigan and Bristol Rovers there has to be repercussions.

“I want to reward the fans for their loyalty and if that means I have to make difficult decisions along the way I am going to do it. It isn’t a problem and the players are aware of that.

“I spoke to them. As I said, I’ve got no allegiance, I’ve got no extra responsibility because I have brought them in in the summer, all that does is say maybe I have made a mistake on one or two, which as a manager you have got to be prepared to accept, see where the mistakes have happened and try to rectify them as quickly as possible, and that’s what I have done.”

Clark made it clear he wanted to clear the decks, telling a number of players they would be surplus to requirements and could look elsewhere for first-team football.

The intention was to reduce his squad down to around 23 players.

As it is, he will carry a squad of 29 from now until January after only managing to offload Thompson and winger Zeli Ismail, who joined Walsall on loan on deadline day.

Neil Danns has been left out in the cold after not even being given a squad number, while others, such as Andrew Tutte, are unlikely to be called upon too often.

Clark did, however, make five additions in the final week of the window, handing a two-year contract to striker Michael Smith following his release from Portsmouth, and signing four loan players – defender Jordan Williams, central midfielders Rohan Ince and Josh Laurent and winger Alex Dobre.

“I am absolutely delighted. I think the business we have done in terms of incomings late in the window have enhanced the squad hugely,” he said.

“I feel we have covered all positions. Once we get the injured lads back we have two players for every position and we have competition for places, which I wanted. We have power, we have pace, we have physicality in the team, so yes, I’m delighted.”

The Bury boss will not be able to call on Bournemouth winger Dobre for tomorrow's match at home to Scunthorpe as the 19-year-old is away on international duty with Romania.

But he believes fans will have plenty to be excited about once the Cherries midfielder, whose real name is Mihai but goes by Alex, finally makes his debut.

“Alex is a Romanian international, so I wouldn’t say there have been too many of them that have played for Bury," he said.

“He has absolutely electric pace, can play left or right wing. We feel we need that – he can go past people.

“We have seen this is a player that can make a big impact for us and feel he is going to be an exciting player for the supporters, another one to add to the list of those players who can excite us – with the Smiths, with the Beckfords, with the Bunns, with the Maguires and with the O’Sheas – those players at the top end of the field who can give us a bit of magic to win football matches."

Smith is unlikely to hit the ground running at Bury after missing the entire pre-season at Portsmouth.

But Clark is certain the 25-year-old Wallsend target man, who has scored 63 goals in 223 career appearances at 10 different clubs, will eventually take the burden off the shoulders of star striker Jermaine Beckford.

“Michael’s time at Portsmouth hasn’t worked out the way he would have wanted, but I look at his goal ratio and what he does," said the Shakers manager. "He’s good in the air, but he’s also a very good technician. His touch is good, he can score goals, his ratio in terms of games is impressive, he can take the workload off Jermaine.

“He hasn’t had a game in pre-season so will have to be put in gently. He is gym fit but not football fit, so that will have to be a gradual process."

While Smith was the final piece in the Bury jigsaw, arriving in the last hour of the summer transfer window, Bury's move for 22-year-old Laurent also came late on Thursday.

It is perhaps no coincidence the Wigan centre-midfielder had to wait before sealing his loan switch, which came not long after the Latics unveiled the signing of Alex Bruce.

Bruce played for Bury on non-contract terms against Wigan, doing a good job as a holding midfielder, scoring the Shakers' goal in the 4-1 defeat.

But Clark explained he was unable to offer a contract to the ex-Hull man as he wanted to play as a centre-back.

Bury already had five central-defenders, including Thompson, while Clark was looking for a player to do a job in the centre of midfield.

He believes Laurent fits the bill, and will offer genuine competition to Ince, Callum Reilly and Stephen Dawson, when the skipper returns from a knee injury.

“Josh is a powerful boy," said Clark. "I watched him in the cup tie against Blackpool and he was very impressive. His power, pace and passing ability are terrific.

“Alongside Rohan Ince we have got some big players in there with physicality.

“We won’t be getting bullied into a 4-1, like we did against Wigan. We won’t be a pushover.

“If we are not playing our best football we will be fighting to the very end to get a result with these boys because we have got a physical presence. We have got men, which you always need to be successful.”