PREPARATION could be key to ending Bury’s woeful away form with manager David Flitcroft spending the week soul-searching ahead of Saturday’s trip to Rochdale.

The Shakers have played twice a week for the last month but have had a full week to focus on the upcoming derby with Dale.

Bury have lost only once at home in four months but have registered one win in 11 on the road.

Flitcroft says he has been doing his utmost to find a solution to the away-day woes but admits it may even be right underneath his nose.

“We have been trying to find solutions, we haven’t done,” Flitcroft said. “We have been trying to work around the clock.

“We will keep looking for that.

"It’s not for the lack of trying to find a solution. We will do.

“But the more you try to find something, at times it could be under your nose so we have got to make sure we get out there and get training and get a week’s preparation in for a very tough game.

“We have tried to drive through it, it will be good to have a good week’s preparation for a fantastic game on Saturday. It has lined it up for a great game, a local derby.”

Bury are still hampered by injuries but could have vice-captain Tom Soares back after undergoing an operation on a fractured cheekbone, while midfielder Kelvin Etuhu is back in training after being rushed back too early for the defeat at Coventry three weeks ago.

Goalkeeper Rob Lainton is around two weeks away from a return, but Nathan Cameron, Jacob Mellis and George Miller are all ruled out for the long term.

“We have introduced Kelvin to training. this week,” Flitcroft added. “He was in and around it at the back end of last week but I wasn’t going to risk it, with what happened at Coventry.

“It’s a regret of mine that we tried to push him a bit too early and we didn’t listen to the advice of surgeons in terms of giving him a bit more time.

“Rob Lainton had a successful operation on his hernia so we are delighted with that. He could be back with us in 10 to 12 days.”

Flitcroft did manage to boost his squad by loaning Sean Clare ahead of last Saturday’s draw with Bradford, and then fellow midfielder Danny Gardner this week.

They will help Bury’s bid to reach Flitcroft’s revised target of 52 points for League One survival.

“That target has slightly moved, with the teams at the bottom having good surges,” admitted the Bury boss. “It was pushed a bit further to achieve our first objective, which is consolidating in this league.

“How many games we have to go after that, I’m not sure, but certainly we are driving towards that target.”