AMID all the hullabaloo of the past week’s events, captain Steven Schumacher’s return to the first team has been somewhat overshadowed.

The combative midfielder’s drive and determination has been badly missed, with Bury failing to win in his absence – drawing at home to Bournemouth and Southend before dropping three points in the 2-0 defeat to Leyton Orient at Gigg Lane on Saturday.

Schumacher admits watching his team-mates struggle from the sidelines has been difficult, especially when he had come into such good form before turning his ankle in training.

“It was horrible, it was devastating,” he said.

“I probably had my best game of the season on the Tuesday (in the 2-1 victory) against Scunthorpe and then I did it on the Friday.

“It’s never good to get injured, but when you are in a bit of good form it’s even more disappointing. You feel as if you have to start all over again.”

The 28-year-old came off the bench for the final 30 minutes of Saturday’s defeat, but by that time the damage had already been done.

Even with Schumacher on the park, Bury never looked like cancelling out Kevin Lisbie’s double strike, much to the captain’s chagrin.

“When you are on the bench you don’t want to have to come on because you want the lads to be winning 3-0,” said Schumacher.

“It’s hard to come on when you are 2-0 down and try to lift things. It’s tough.”

Despite struggling with frustration on the sidelines, the one plus point for Schumacher has been the emergence of Joe Skarz as an able stand-in captain.

“Joe’s got loads of experience,” said Schumacher.

“I think over the last three years since I’ve been here I would say Skarzy has been our most consistent player so for someone who you know you are going to get a performance out of he is a good candidate for me to have the armband, no problem.”