BURY AFC striker Tom Greaves is targeting 50 goals for the phoenix club.

The 35-year-old striker, who already has 14 goals to his name, believes the half-century mark will be within reach if the season resumes.

Speaking on Bury AFC’s Shaken Up Show, the former Bradford Park Avenue and Ossett United frontman has had to change his target, after scoring so many in only seven games.

He said: “I usually set myself 20 for the season but I think now, if I got 20, I’d be very disappointed in myself.

“I think I’ll aim for 30 this season, then target 50 and then we’ll see if my legs have fallen off yet and if I can do another season. But yeah, I think 50 is quite realistic, if we get to carry on the season and have a good go at it.”

Greaves, who calls himself a bit of a "stats freak" when recalling his goalscoring record, certainly has the desire to make it a reality.

“There’s no better feeling than scoring goals, whether you’re scoring in your back garden or you’re scoring 91st minute winners, just scoring goals is all I’ve wanted to do,” he added.

The Yorkshireman is into the latter stages of his career, after success across non-league most notably at FC United of Manchester, where he is the club’s all-time record goalscorer.

Greaves amassed 103 goals for the Reds, who used to play at Bury FC’s Gigg Lane, and achieved the feat while taking the reins as player-manager.

With the team languishing deep inside the relegation zone of the Conference North, he successfully guided them to safety but admits that being both a teammate and the boss was an all-consuming experience that eventually became too much for him.

“It was very, very tough being a player-manager when I’d been in the dressing room with them for so long,” he said.

“I found myself leaving friends out of the squad; taking them off; not starting them and when you’re friends with them, they’re all going to come at you straight away (saying), ‘why am I not playing? Why am I not doing this, why am I not doing that’ and that side of it was really, really hard.

Tom Greaves scores the third of his four goals against AFC Darwen

Tom Greaves scores the third of his four goals against AFC Darwen

“I’m quite loyal to my friends and it drove me into the ground in the end. It was hard work and that’s why I had to step down.”

For Greaves, leaving the role and leaving a club to which he was "addicted", was the hardest thing he has had to do in football. Getting involved from the sidelines remains an option however, once he hangs up his boots.

“I think I’d miss the game too much not to give it a go – whether it’s a manager’s role or a coach’s role, even a role just working with the strikers,” he added. “ But I experienced a lot within the eight or nine months that I was the manager.”

Outside of playing, Greaves runs a football coaching business with his brother and has had a successful career as a coach, which began with the Football in the Community team at Bradford City.

A late bloomer, Greaves grew up playing rugby as a child and turned to football in his teens. Eventually, he landed a trial at Bradford City as a player but aged 17 and with the club, at the time, being in administration, they were unable to take him on.

As far as Greaves is concerned, however, the prospect of turning professional was never realistic.

“I knew at an early age that I wasn’t going to make it at a top, top level. I was technically not good enough and after the trial at Bradford City, I just thought, ‘go and play non-league football and get what you can out of it and enjoy it as much as you can'," he said.

“I’ve had a lot of good moments in my career for non-league clubs and I don’t regret anything. I’ve absolutely loved my time and hopefully I’ve got a couple more years to come yet.”

However Greaves’ time at Bury AFC plays out, he has already written himself into their history books thanks to his contribution to their first ever league victory.

Having signed from Ossett United in the week building up to their first game in the NWCFL Division One North against Steeton, Greaves spearheaded a dramatic comeback.

Andy Welsh's side had been 2-1 down approaching stoppage time but a dramatic Greaves brace sealed a remarkable 3-2 victory.

Greaves’ winner, a tap-in deep into stoppage time, prompted wild celebrations but for the goalscorer it had a more poignant significance.

Upon scoring, he ran to his father in the stands and dedicated the goal to his grandmother, who had recently died from coronavirus.

“My dad has had a really tough time of late," he said. "He’s lost a couple of friends and then we lost my gran – my dad’s mum – and it’s hit him hard.

“So, I just felt it was right to go over to him to say that, that goal was for my gran and I think he was proud that I did that for him.”

Whether Greaves reaches his target may be out of his hands for now. The uncertainty surrounding any possible restart to the season or otherwise, shrouds such a possibility in doubt.

Greaves, however, has already written himself into the Bury AFC history books and is ready to reach the next milestone, as soon as he is again allowed to take to the field in a white and blue shirt.