BURY FC boss Andy Welsh wants this weekend’s friendlies against Bradford City and Preston North End to be a celebration as the gates finally reopen at Gigg Lane.

The Shakers are expecting crowds of more than 2,000 for each match and Welsh is looking for the club to make an impression on and off the pitch against Football League opposition.

Mark Hughes’ Bradford side will officially mark the return of football to Gigg Lane on Saturday while Ryan Lowe’s Preston will be the opponents 24 hours later.

While Welsh believes it is a huge weekend for the club, he says it is a great chance for his players to make an impression against quality opposition.

Bury warmed up for the weekend with a 3-0 friendly win at Thackley AFC on Saturday before drawing 2-2 at NPL Premier Division side Hyde United on Tuesday.

“The lads have got to see this as an opportunity to go toe-to-toe with a League Two side and a Championship side,” he told the club website. “In football, if you work hard and you run hard you have always got a chance whatever level you are at.

“I would like to think the lads are going to work as hard as possible on Saturday and on Sunday and then it is just about that game management and that understanding of how to break down professional teams.

“I am really looking forward to the weekend and I really hope that all the fans are looking forward to celebrating that we are back at Gigg Lane.”

Meanwhile, Bury will also kick off their NWCL Premier Division campaign at Gigg Lane when they host Glossop North End on Saturday, July 29 before travelling to Colne on Tuesday, August 1.