ALAN Knill has urged his Shakers squad to grasp the opportunity of promotion with both hands ahead of this weekend’s derby showdown with Rochdale.

Bury may have suffered two defeats in a week, but their destiny is still in their own hands – and Knill does not want any regrets at the end of the season.

The Shakers can haul themselves back into the automatic promotion places if they earn a victory over their neighbours, and Knill said: “We have got 12 games left and there is plenty to play for.

“We have put ourselves in a strong position, so it is about us now.

“We talked about our situation with the players and we told the lads to go and enjoy it – don’t be scared or fearful of it.

“We deserve to be there and being at the top is much better than being at the bottom.

“It’s the business end of the season now. We have worked so hard to put ourselves in this position and we don’t want it to slip away.

“We will be driving the lads on as best we can, and the rest is down to them.”

Keith Hill’s men are also gunning for League One and lie a place above the Shakers in the standings, and Knill admits he and his players are eagerly anticipating the contest.

“It’s going to be a great game,” said the manager. “They will be disappointed they lost on Tuesday (to Barnet) and we are definitely disappointed we lost.

“I’ve really enjoyed the last couple of derby games I have been involved in, and I do try to treat it no different to any other game.

“But, the fact of the matter is, we had 2,000 here on Tuesday and there will probably be 7,000 on Saturday so that in itself makes it a different sort of game.

“The atmosphere will be unbelievable – on Tuesday night it was quiet at times but it won’t be like that on Saturday.”

The derby match has been moved forward to a 12 noon kick-off time on police advice.

Stephen Dawson should return to the Bury side after sitting out the Chesterfield game through suspension, while Ben Futcher and Wayne Brown were due to play for the reserve team yesterday.

The fixtures are coming thick and fast in the Shakers’ thrilling promotion campaign with the next instalment at Morecambe on Tuesday.