TALK of ambitious plans to redevelop JD Stadium and propel Bury into the Championship within five years must be “shelved” in the short-term, says manager David Flitcroft.
A draw at Southend on Saturday and disappointing defeat at bottom club Torquay United on Tuesday night snuffed out any lingering hopes of promotion and reopened the prospect of a relegation battle.
Stoppage-time heartache in the 2-1 loss at Plainmoor followed an appearance by chairman Stewart Day on the BBC North West programme Late Kick-off, when he revealed an exciting announcement on future plans for the club and stadium would be made public in the next few months.
But before then, Flitcroft is only too aware that his job is to keep them in the Football League.
“We have got to shelve that (talk of future plans) and make sure we concentrate on tomorrow,” said the Bury boss as he looked forward to Saturday’s match at home to mid-table Dagenham & Redbridge.
“I have got to make sure that we raise our standards because there is a short-term plan and that short-term plan is winning football matches.
“When we get a little further down the line, yes there is an exciting future for Bury Football Club, there’s no doubt about that, but part of that future is making sure we win football matches.”
Rochdale’s 3-0 victory at second-bottom Northampton Town on Tuesday night ensured 18th-placed Bury retained a four-point cushion over the drop zone.
That was scant consolation for Flitcroft, however, who had earmarked the Torquay clash as a benchmark for just how far his team had progressed under his leadership.
One defeat in 10 matches going into the game, which included three successive draws in the last three games against teams in the promotion and play-off places, helped open up the gap over the bottom two.
And with the trip to Devon kicking off a run of games against teams in the bottom half, the Bury manager had hoped to pile on the points and move away from trouble.
But Ashley Yeoman’s 91st-minute winner for the Gulls scotched any thoughts of an end-of-season stroll.
“We have fallen below our usual standards and we have got to readdress that,” said Flitcroft, after seeing Clive Platt’s second-half equaliser cancelled out in devastating fashion.
“We have been doing ok against the top teams, but we now have to pit our wits against teams down there fighting and that’s for me the real test.”
One positive to come out of the game was the return to fitness of captain Craig Jones and leading goalscorer Daniel Nardiello, while midfield lynchpin Tommy Miller is expected to return on Saturday after missing the last two matches with a thigh strain and ankle knock.
However, Tom Soares limped off with a hamstring problem and is doubtful for the match against 13th-placed Dagenham.