Bury AFC manager, Andy Welsh, believes his side are going to have to prepare for teams raising their game after their 4-2 friendly loss at Euxton Villa on Saturday.

Welsh’s men were second best against a sharp Euxton side, in what was the phoenix club’s first outing since Boxing Day, due to the voiding of the North West Counties Football League season.

For the former Sunderland and Stockport winger, however, the result did not have too much bearing on proceedings.

He said: “My whole ethos on today was about getting the fans out to watch a game. I know there’ll be some that will be disappointed we’ve lost a game but for me it’s more than that.

“It was about socialising as a group again. It was about coming to watch the team play. And also, for us to look at some players who might come in or might not be.”

Goals from Lewis Gilboy and Adam McWilliam punctuated the four scored by the Chorley side on a gloriously, sun-drenched day at the forest-flanked Jim Fowler Memorial Ground.

And whilst the away side can be forgiven for drinking in their surroundings at the cost of the scoreline, for Welsh, Euxton’s performance could be a precursor for the upcoming season.

He said: “There’s a number of players in the dressing room who haven’t experienced how much it means to the opposition. So, it’s about painting that picture for the ones that are coming in and it’s about re-addressing it for the ones that are already here - that every game matters.”

The stellar performance of Villa striker, Patrick Bibby, who netted a 59 minute hat-trick to make it 4-1, further underlined the intent of Bury’s opposition.

Welsh added: “On the (tactics) board, it said ‘there are no friendlies for Bury AFC’ and there aren’t because no-one is going to give us an easy ride. It’s a cup final for everyone, and rightly so, because that’s the type of club we are.

“We’ll have to deal with it and we’re looking for players with strong character who are going to represent us in the right way.”

One established player who further enhanced his reputation was former Accrington Stanley wide man Lewis Gilboy and the 21-year-old was rewarded with a well taken goal before half time - with his effort from the edge of the box crashing into the bottom left corner, off the post.

Reflecting on the enforced break, he said: “I’ve not stopped working. I’m always in the gym and always trying to get better and come back stronger for next season, to prove what I can do.

“I just want to constantly get on the scoresheet, get my crosses in and always be aggressive going forward.”

Bury AFC captain, Scott Metcalfe, had the ignominy of being sent off for the second match in a row, albeit six months apart having received his marching orders in the league clash against Chadderton.

The full-back, playing out of position in central midfield, showed excellent distribution and was vocal as always but a full-blooded tackle between him and a Villa player was deemed dangerous by the referee. The continued altercation with the opposing player did little to further the skipper’s cause as the red card was shown.

Metcalfe said: “If I’m honest, I don’t think it was a sending off. I just thought it was just two lads going into a fair tackle, hard… the ref’s angle is that he thinks I’ve jumped in two footed… hopefully the video will clear that up.”

Regardless, however, his understudy, Joe Stanley, has the chance to stake a claim for the left-back berth whilst Metcalfe serves a 3 league game ban from his sending off against Chadderton FC for a similar challenge.

And as the dust settles on a first game in half a year, Bury AFC now have a 2 week break before their next friendly against Squires Gate.

For the manager, it will be another chance to run the rule over his players but he also knows that there is a way to go before that first league game.

He added: “We’ve got an exciting season ahead. Games are not pivotal at this stage, for me it’s about getting the players out, getting them active and getting them used to an atmosphere again.”