SHAKERS skipper Antony Kay has credited coach Chris Brass for the club’s improvement since the turn of the year.

Bury were sliding towards the relegation zone when he was handed the reins following the sacking of former manager David Flitcroft in November.

They went on to claim an unwanted club record 12-match losing steak and 17-game winless run.

But Brass arrested the slump, thanks in part to 10 signings in the January transfer window and a shift in formation to a more sturdy 5-3-2.

There is no doubt he laid down the foundations for Bury’s recent revival under new manager Lee Clark.

Four wins and a draw from Clark’s six league matches in charge have seen the Shakers move out of the relegation zone. And Kay, who played under Clark for three years at Huddersfield between 2009 and 2012, says his strict approach and faith in youth players bodes well for the club.

“Looking at it, Brass did a good job to start it, he set it off,” Kay said. “The gaffer has come in and carried it on, the lads have taken everything on board and it just shows now we can play football, dig in and keep clean sheets.

“I had him (Clark) for a few years at Huddersfield so I know how he works. I have told the lads as well. He is strict, he keeps people on their toes and I think that’s good.

“If young lads come in and play well they keep their place. There is nobody taking liberties.”

Kay has also seen a personal upturn in form since Clark’s arrival and, either side of a two-match suspension, has helped to keep five clean sheets in his past six games.

The switch in formation has given the defenders extra confidence and now the 34-year-old wants to put a winning run together to ensure League One survival as early as possible.

“I have done it before,” said Kay. “If you are a centre-half and you’re playing as a three you should find it easier. We have got the players to suit. We have good players in centre-half and full-backs who like to bomb on.

“I think over the last month Bury and the teams around us have put in good performances and brought the teams above into contention. It’s going to be tight so we need to go on a little four or five-game run to get ourselves out of it.”