CHRIS Hussey had a hand in three of Bury’s four goals against Blackpool on Saturday but it was the defensive side of his game manager David Flitcroft highlighted after the final whistle.

The 26-year-old former Coventry and Burton full-back scored a sublime free-kick - his first goal since signing permanently for the Shakers in June 2014.

And after also providing the crosses that led to Bury’s first two goals, Hussey stormed to the top of the League One assists chart with seven for the season.

Flitcroft has always been an admirer of Hussey’s attacking calibre but takes more pride as a coach in his development as a defender.

"He gets a lot of credit for the way he attacks teams and the offensive part of the pitch, but I'd say his defending has improved 60 per cent since he's been with us,” said the Bury boss, who initially brought Hussey to Gigg Lane on loan from Burton in March 2014, when he scored two goals in 11 games.

"It was always an Achilles heel, it was always something people said he couldn't do.

“And I love that, as a coach, when people say 'he'll never be able to defend'.

"I say 'well, spend time with him. Spend it on the training ground and make him defend'.

“Then you'll get one hell of a player and we have one hell of a player at the club."

Hussey’s best work going forward has been in tandem with left winger Danny Mayor in open play, but he has also provided a constant threat via his corners and free-kicks.

Last season, Hussey and Nicky Adams shared the responsibility for set-pieces.

Adams left for Northampton in the summer, earning a nomination for League Two play of the month for October after setting up seven goals for the Cobblers.

But Bury’s attacking left-back has stepped forward to fill the void left by Adams.

"People go on about set-pieces all the time but you're only as good as the delivery,” added Flitcroft.

"When I was here as a player, Brian Barry-Murphy could put it anywhere he wanted to.

“So can Hussey, but it's the pace with Huss that causes you real problems.

"We always work on set-pieces - against and for - and we look really menacing, but it's all about Chris Hussey's delivery.

"He could score more free-kicks than what he does, but his number of assists is out of the ball park now, for a left-back.”