BURY manager Ryan Lowe has defended the club’s decision to begin their pre-season programme against a string of top-flight sides.

After just a week back in training, the Shakers visited Scottish giants Rangers last Friday and lost 6-0 in front of 41,015 fans at Ibrox.

Huddersfield then travelled to Gigg Lane on Tuesday night, winning 4-0 as Lowe attempts to rebuild his squad after last season’s relegation.

And the Shakers will host two more Premier League sides over the next week, Merseyside rivals Liverpool (Saturday) and Everton (Wednesday).

“We’re slowly finding out about formations and personnel but we got fitness out of it as well,” Lowe said after Tuesday night’s game.

“We know that playing these big clubs, we’re not going to beat them by two or three, but I’d like to think we looked a bit fitter and sharper than Friday night.

“We got in the opposition’s half a bit more than on Friday night so it’s slowly but surely coming together.

“Bury aren’t used to playing these big clubs pre-season. It could have been easy to go and play Warrington, Nantwich, Ramsbottom, Radcliffe, Chester and Southport.

“You’d probably win all the games and get nothing out of it, so what it is for us now is a learning curve over the next week.

“We’ve got Liverpool and Everton now and hopefully it’ll come to fruition against Radcliffe, Chester and Southport.

“Pre-season is a learning curve and the good thing is, nothing counts on it.”

Huddersfield played a different XI for each half on Tuesday, 12 of the 22 on show having made more than 10 league starts last season.

Full-back Jordan Williams, who had a loan spell with Bury last season, played the first half for the Terriers.

The Shakers used three trialists – left-back Callum McFadzean, midfielder Tom Whelan and forward Gold Omotayo – but Lowe remained without the likes of Tom Aldred, Harry Bunn, Jermaine Beckford, Phil Edwards and Jay O’Shea as they continue to work towards full fitness.

Bury made a positive start, with Danny Mayor curling a long-range effort over while Alex Pritchard hit a free kick over for Huddersfield.

The Shakers replied with new signing Tom Miller hitting an acrobatic volley over from a Callum Styles corner, but Huddersfield pounced on a loose pass to open the scoring, Pritchard firing in a low shot from Philip Billing’s pass on 21 minutes.

Tom Ince then played in Williams behind right-back Miller but his shot was too close to former Huddersfield keeper Joe Murphy.

Tsun Dai operated on the right of midfield in the first half, with new signing Byron Moore in a more advanced role, and Dai went close before Ince curled over a free kick.

Youth graduates Ryan Cooney and Saul Shotton came into the Bury defence for the second half but it was from Cooney’s wing that Chris Lowe crossed for Rajiv van La Parra to volley Huddersfield’s second goal in off the bar on 49 minutes.

Bury roused a sparse home crowd as Neil Danns’ shot deflected into the path of Chris Dagnall but he was flagged offside.

Huddersfield made it 3-0 on the hour mark, with Lowe again crossing from the left for Abdelhamid Sabiri to head home.

Then on 81 minutes, Collin Quaner got to the byline and stood up a cross for Matty Daly to sweep the ball in at the far post.

Bury’s best chance of a consolation came as youngster Joe Adams found Omotayo, who beat Michael Hefele before hitting a fierce shot which keeper Joel Coleman could only parry behind.

BURY: Murphy (Hudson 63), Miller (Cooney 46), O’Connell (Shotton 46), Aimson (Thompson 63), McFadzean (Skarz 69), Dai (Nyaupembe 80), Danns (Dawson 63), Styles (Whelan 80), Mayor (J Adams 63), Moore (Omotayo 63), Dagnall (N Adams 70).

New signings Mathew Hudson and Tom Miller had linked up with the Bury squad in time for last Friday’s trip to Glasgow and went straight into the starting XI.

But on a busy night for the Bury defence, Jamie Murphy, Nikola Katic and Scott Arfield gave Rangers a 3-0 lead by half time.

In Steven Gerrard’s first game as manager, the Gers were playing for places in this week’s Europa League tie and rounded off a comfortable win with Arfield, Alfredo Morelos and Zak Rudden scoring.

Hudson and centre-half Eoghan O’Connell emerged with most credit for the Shakers on a tough but memorable evening at Ibrox.

BURY: Hudson (Moloney 84), Miller (Aimson 46), Thompson (O’Connell 46), Shotton (Cooney 60), Skarz (McFadzean 46 (Whelan 87)), Mayor (N Adams 84), Danns (Burgess 76), Styles (Nyaupembe 87), Dawson (Dai 68), Moore (Omotayo 46), Dagnall (J Adams 57).