CHRIS Lucketti reckons Nicky Ajose and Michael Smith could be the men to fire the Shakers to safety.

The new Bury boss recalled Ajose for last Saturday's Checkatrade Trophy tie at Walsall, partnering him with Smith up front.

Ajose scored both goals in a 2-1 win, one from a Smith knock down, and Lucketti believes they have the makings of a productive partnership.

The strike pair are set to keep their place for Saturday's visit of AFC Wimbledon, when victory would put the Shakers level with the fifth-bottom Dons.

“Nicky trained really well,” said Lucketti. “I'd been impressed with him in the week and I wanted to give him that opportunity.

“I wanted to go with two strikers and thought someone being able to play off big 'Smudger' would suit us, and the two goals he got were a different class.

“Nicky was clinical, but that's what he is. If you give him those opportunities then he'll score. Strikers thrive on goals and Nicky is no different.

“It's an area I wanted to look at, playing with two strikers,” added the Bury boss. “Big Smudge will compete in the air and takes a lot of stick from centre-halves.

“But Nicky needs to play with somebody like that, and if he can play on the shoulder, play off that target man, then there's no reason why – with hard work – that can't pay off.”

Greg Leigh hopes to have recovered from the illness which forced him off at half time on Saturday, while Jermaine Beckford, Danny Mayor and Stephen Dawson were all due to return to training this week.

But Lucketti will not rush any of them back, especially not when the Shakers have made such a positive start to his tenure.

“When I came in after the Shrewsbury win, I wanted to keep the same players because it would have been silly to change that,” he said.

“Josh Laurent was ineligible at Walsall so it was an enforced change but it gave me an option to look at two strikers.

“I want to keep that consistency because I think to have success, you need a consistent line-up.

“So it's up to the lads who've got the shirt to keep it, and the lads who aren't in the team have to work hard to push them and ask questions.”

Having had over than 100 games at Gigg Lane as a Bury player, Saturday's game will be Lucketti's first there as a manager.

“It's going to be a special day,” he added. “The club means the world to me, I had some unbelievable times here.”