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Blackwell puts ball in directors' court
KEVIN Blackwell has called for more backing from the Bury directors as he faces selection problems ahead of tonight’s crucial clash at Scunthorpe.
The Shakers boss will definitely be without Adam Lockwood for the League One basement battle, while there are continued doubts over the fitness of experienced strikers Andy Bishop and David Healy.
All three players missed Saturday’s defeat at Colchester, which ended a run of three straight victories for Bury and saw them fall back to second bottom in the table.
Blackwell, pictured, struggled to hide his frustration with his strikers’ niggling injury woes at the weekend, with Bishop suffering a recurrence of a heel problem and Healy aggravating a calf strain after scoring for Northern Ireland in midweek.
He is now concerned that their continued absence could not only affect tonight’s result against third-bottom Scunthorpe – where a win for either side could move them clear of the drop zone – but also undermine the club’s recent revival.
“They are all important games and that’s why we need all of our experienced players, and we need them fit and fit quickly,” said Blackwell. “Locky has got a deep groin injury and that could take two to four weeks to heal.
“We don’t know how long it’s going to be for Bishop and Healy.
“We need numbers. I’ve been saying that to the directors. They know the score, so the ball’s in their court.”
Blackwell’s situation was yesterday improved by the news that Leeds had granted an extension to the loan deals of midfield duo Dominic Poleon and Zac Thompson, both aged 19, who were due to return to Elland Road after last Saturday’s game but will now stay until January.
The Shakers boss has used the loan market to steer Bury away from relegation, but is concerned he is relying too heavily on youngsters, and wants to bring in more experienced players when the transfer window re-opens.
As well as Poleon and Thompson, Blackwell also handed 19-year-old Wolves defender Ethan Ebanks-Landell his league debut at centre-back on Saturday and played 18-year-old Leicester striker Tom Hopper on his own up front.
Wolves defender Matt Doherty, aged 20, is also a regular at right-back, while Blackwell was forced to leave out 22-year-old QPR striker Troy Hewitt on Saturday as he already had a maximum of five loan players in his squad.