BURY chairman Brian Fenton has revealed plans to strengthen the Shakers squad for next season ahead of the penultimate match of the current campaign – Saturday’s derby clash with Oldham.

Hailing Saturday’s 4-2 win at Notts County, which guaranteed League One football at Gigg Lane season, Fenton said he always believed there was enough quality in the squad to stay up following last year’s promotion.

And the Bury chief also said sacking manager Richie Barker as his team endured a post-Christmas run of 13 matches without a win while slipping into relegation danger had never been on the board’s agenda.

“It was a fantastic result on Saturday,” he said. “We thoroughly deserved the victory against a team pushing for the last play-off place.

“We have got it back together after a bit of a stutter after Christmas, but there were a lot of injuries in midfield and there was also Peter Sweeney’s three-match ban. But that comes with having a small squad.

“Richie has had the board’s backing all season. I’m not one for sacking managers because of a bad run.

“You can see how well we’ve done when you look at the situation Rochdale (bottom of League One and relegated) and Macclesfield (bottom of League Two) find themselves in. But I always knew we had the quality in the squad to get us out of the situation we found ourselves in a few weeks ago. The irony is that by the time the season finishes we could be as high as 10th in the league.

“We do have irons in the fire for next season and we know where we want to strengthen the team.”

The only fly in the ointment of a campaign, already described by Barker and his captain Steven Schumacher as surpassing last season’s promotion from League Two, has been the manager’s frustration with a small section of home fans who vented their spleen during the recent poor run of results, prompting him to say some supporters should not go to Gigg Lane, if they are going to be negative.

“Perhaps Richie shouldn’t have done what he did,” said Fenton. “We have spoken about it, but, at the end of the day, I would like the fans to get behind the team, because booing and criticism from the terraces doesn’t do any good.

“They have to remember that we have a small budget and a small squad.

Meanwhile, Bury will meanwhile be pressing ahead with reburbishments to the home dressing room, relaying the training ground pitch and installing a sprinkler system for the Gigg Lane pitch during the summer.