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Barker tribute to Bury loyalists
RICHIE Barker is confident Bury’s army of travelling fans can banish any lingering negativity which prompted him to lash out at a minority of moaning supporters following Saturday’s Gigg Lane victory over Bournemouth.
The 1-0 win assured the Shakers of League One football next season, barring a series of freak results in the final three games eroding their nine-point safety cushion.
The Bury manager admitted he found it embarrassing to have to criticise a minority of the home support who barracked his team throughout the entire match, but was standing by his post-match comments yesterday.
“It’s only 0.1 per cent of the fans – probably less than that,” he said. “They just need to get behind us and stop being negative. It would be nice if those who are behind us could shut up the ones who are not.
“To be honest, I would rather talk about the 99.9 per cent of our supporters who have been absolutely superb.”
In contrast, when the Shakers travel to Notts County on Saturday they will be backed by one of the top five away followings in the Football League – measured as a percentage of their average home gate.
And as Barker looks to put a dent in the Magpies’ play-off ambitions while taking a step nearer achieving his own new target of a top-half finish, he hailed their contribution.
“Our away support all season has been fantastic,” he said. “It has helped, of course, that we have quite a few local derbies.”
Meanwhile, Barker is refusing to take Bury’s safety for granted, saying it would be disrespectful to assume that Wycombe – the only club capable of catching the Shakers – could not win their final three games.
“We will not celebrate until we are mathematically safe,” he said. “We have to keep our own house in order. But we have achieved the target we set out for at the beginning of the season – to get 50 or more points. We now have 52 with three games to play and it means we can look up the table, rather than down.
“At Notts County it will be a difficult game against a team pushing for the play-offs, but it will show our players how good they have to be to reach the next level. It will be a good test for us.”