KEVIN Blackwell says Bury are playing catch-up in the transfer market after being held back by an embargo imposed by the Football League.

The Shakers’ ban on registering new players was lifted last Friday after the club repaid the loan to the PFA which triggered it.

While Blackwell welcomes the news, the Bury manager believes the block on new signings, which had been in place since December 10, has already had a massive impact on the club’s survival chances.

“We’ve been poised to strike for weeks,” he said. “You have to be ready, but, unfortunately, there are targets that have now gone to other clubs. Three or four of the options that we definitely wanted have gone.

“If you identify targets then see them move on, it obviously makes your job a little bit harder.

“We knew we were giving everybody a head start, but the people behind the scenes here have worked their socks off to get this embargo lifted.

“All we can do now is try and get something in, but, I will be honest with you, the main targets I wanted will not be coming.”

Former Leeds full-back Ben Parker looks to be one that got away. The 25-year-old was all set to sign non-contract terms with Bury before the transfer embargo was imposed.

The young defender is now training with Brian Deane at Sarpsborg 08 in Norway.

Blackwell’s first move is likely to be offering contracts to midfielders Tom Soares and Sebastian Carole, who have effectively been playing for free since November.

He also has a number of other triallists at the club ready to come in, including a goalkeeper from FC Zurich, while the boss is also keen to bring in an experienced centre-half and striker.

“We know the areas we need to deal with,” he said.

“You don’t have to be a top-class manager to realise the problems of Bury Football Club.

“We’re creating loads of chances and not taking them, and any time a ball goes in our box it ends up in our net.

“So it’s not rocket science that a centre-half and a striker are a priority for me.

“But if we can just find that last little bit, to either finish the goals off or keep the clean sheets, then I’m quietly confident.”