MIKE Grella has threatened to abandon his usual pre-match preparation in favour of late nights and exercise after Monday’s unexpected start led to his debut Bury goal.
The American forward wasn’t even due to be on the bench, let alone start in the 4-1 win over Colchester.
But when Andy Bishop’s fiancee went into labour on the morning of the match, he got a surprise call from Richie Barker.
“I found out on the way to Gigg Lane,” said Grella, after the game. “The boss just said ‘Bish is in the hospital, so you’re playing today’.
“I had no idea I was going to be involved so I was in the gym yesterday and ran about four or five miles. I then went to bed very late, speaking with my family for Easter.
“Basically, I did completely the opposite of what I would normally do before a match, so it’s going to be interesting what I will do if the boss picks me for Saturday.”
Presumably, Barker won’t be encouraging the 25-year-old striker to repeat the trick, but there is every chance that he will hand him his fifth Bury start.
As well as scoring a scrappy opener, Grella also forced Colchester keeper Ben Williams into a diving finger-tip save from a glancing header and teed up Giles Coke for Bury’s third goal with an expert reverse pass.
He also linked up play well and struck up a useful strike partnership with Shaun Harrad.
“I thought we were good together,” said Grella. “He did a lot of the battling, won a lot of headers and did a lot of running in behind, whereas I satin and played a bit more in the hole, which is really where I’d prefer to play.”
While Grella may not start on Saturday against Bournemouth, he has certainly given Barker plenty of food for thought.