BURY’S 4-0 drubbing at home to rivals Rochdale in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday night was an embarrassment to the badge, says manager Lee Clark.

The Shakers boss fielded a youthful line-up, making 11 changes from the side that drew 0-0 against Plymouth at the weekend.

But even taking the lack of experience into account, he was still unhappy with the way his team performed in what was the club’s first match in the cup competition’s group stages.

It was all over bar the shouting before the break after a Joe Bunney strike and Brad Inman brace handed the visitors a 3-0 lead. Bury did have chances in the first period, but Ryan Lowe crashed an effort off the post and Neil Danns shot over from six yards.

A triple half-time substitution, introducing first-team regulars Greg Leigh, Callum Reilly and Harry Bunn, restricted Rochdale to just one goal in the second half, skipper Ian Henderson finding the net with a low shot.

“We were just not good enough really,” Clark said. “First half we were very good with the ball but absolutely woeful without it. There were too many passengers without it.

“The senior lads that came on did their job with a good, strong and willing performance. Credit to them and Neil Danns.

“After that it is a bit of an embarrassment to the badge in a local derby.

“People will criticise me, I’m not flavour of the month at the moment, I totally accept that. That team that I put out there had opportunities to play for the badge and not enough of them have taken it.”

Clark fielded six teenagers in his starting line up, with centre-back Saul Shotton the youngest, aged 16.

Ryan Cooney, 17, was also handed his first senior start, while Tsun Dai and Callum Styles, who have 21 first-team appearances between them, were trusted in midfield.

However, the performance of the younger lads has made Clark question his squad’s strength in depth.

“There are four or five lads that have taken their opportunity,” Clark added. “Other ones we have given an opportunity and they have shown that they are not at that level yet.

“We didn’t face the strongest of Rochdale teams or the most powerful, but they overran us, so it just shows we are a little bit shorter than we think.

“We are not at the level, when you get below the surface of the squad, where people think we are.

“I hope they learn quickly what the game is about, not just looking pretty, it’s about dropping on second balls and being aggressive.

“They have to learn quickly, this is completely different to youth football.”

One bright spark was the performance of Bournemouth loanee Mihai Dobre, who was a real livewire all evening.

The Romanian winger had Bury’s best effort of the second half when he forced Rochdale keeper Josh Lillis into a fine finger-tip save from a free-kick.

“Mihai Dobre, by a million miles, was the best player on the pitch in both teams,” Clark said. “He is a real positive. He is like the best player in the school team who does everything – corners, throw-ins, goal kicks – he does the lot.

“Remember he is only 18 as well. He is a special, special talent and we have to use him.”

Midfielder Danns was brought in from the cold to make his first competitive start under Clark. And the 34-year-old, who Clark tried to offload in the summer, may have forced his way back into the manager’s thinking.

“Having that performance from Mihai Dobre and Neil Danns producing what he did gives you some food for thought,” he added.

“When you’re contracted to the club and you get paid a weekly wage and you get your monthly salary and you have a good attitude, who knows what is around the corner.

“I thought Neil was one of the plus points tonight.”

Match ratings

Bury (3-5-2): Fasan 4; Shotton 4, Whitmore 4 (Reilly 46, 5), Cooney 4; Williams 4 (Leigh 46, 6), Styles 4 (Bunn 46, 5), Danns 4, Dai 5, Skarz 4; Dobre 7, Lowe 5. Unused subs: Maloney, Hill, Harker, Hulme.

Rochdale (4-2-1-3): Lillis; Rafferty, McGahey, Ntihe, Bunney; Camps, Williams (Rathbone 73); Adshead; Williams, Henderson (Slew 56), Inman (Cannon 69). Unused subs: Moore, Morley, Gillam, Kearney.

Referee: Mark Heywood (West Yorkshire).

Attendance: 1,451 (498 visiting).