ANDY Welsh believes Bury AFC are ready for the new campaign on the eve of their final friendly at near neighbours Ramsbottom United.

The first meeting between the sides at the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium will be the last workout for Welsh’s men ahead of the season opener at Ilkley Town on July 31.

All eyes are on being at the sharp end of the North West Counties First Division North after the first season in the club’s history never really got going due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

And Welsh believes tests like the one at Rammy, two divisions above them in the Northern Premier League West Division, will stand his men in good stead.

“It’s another tough game for us,” he said.

“I can’t fault the lads at all. We’ve played some brilliant stuff this pre-season and I think we’re ready for the season to start if I’m honest.

“If you think back to when we first started I think we’ve played treble the amount of friendlies than we have actual games that matter if you like.

“Everyone’s ready for the start but we know we’ve got to go to Ramsbottom who are going to be a very tough team.

“It’s on their home ground but we’re just going to have to deal with it and look at getting the minutes in to build the right way.”

AFC head to Rammy on the back of a 2-1 defeat against Hanley Town at the Neuven Stadium on Tuesday night.

Abs Obasoto, a recent arrival having come through the ranks at Morecambe, gave the hosts an early lead with a fine goal before former Shaker Chris Dagnall, now 35, levelled things up at the end of the first half.

Hanley player-boss Carl Dickinson, the former Stoke and Watford defender, then gave his side victory with a penalty early in the second half.

Welsh was pleased with the workout though against the ambitious Midland Football League Premier Division side.

“I thought first half we played really well,” the Bury boss said.

“We’ve had to make a few changes tonight to give others minutes and naturally in pre-season we’ve tried to mix it up to give people opportunities.

“A couple of players have come in tonight and done really well and others sometimes play themselves out of areas which happens.

“Hanley are a very good side. When you’ve got Chris Dagnall up front and the manager Carl Dickinson who was playing at Conference level last year, they’ll be a strong team in their division.

“For 45 minutes we played some brilliant football – Abs got a fantastic goal, Adam (McWilliam) had a couple of chances as well.

“I was pleased with the first half and second half when you make changes things become a bit disjointed and that’s just the way it was tonight.”