BEN Futcher is one Shakers player who is already planning for his future.

The 28-year-old centre-half, who has more than 300 Football League appearance on his CV, is also a part-time student on a sports performance course.

He and fellow Bury defender Paul Scott study once a week at Salford University as they look to expand their horizons once their playing days come to an end.

“It is all about nutrition and the physical and mental side of sport,” said Futcher.

“I am trying to get as many strings to my bow as possible while I am still playing football.

“It does help my career too — I can relate a lot of what I am learning to football and I am enjoying it.

“It is hard work but it is going well, just like the football. We’re in our second year and we’re just hoping to get it finished and passed.”

The former Grimsby and Lincoln player is back in the Shakers starting line-up after Ryan Cresswell lost his place to injury and Futcher is pleased with the way the season is unfolding for promotion-chasing Bury.

After a slow start to the campaign, when the side looked to be struggling from a play-off hangover, Alan Knill’s men are flying and are genuine promotion challengers once again.

Being a veteran of five failed play-off campaigns, Futcher can be forgiven for wanting to avoid the end-of-season lottery once again.

“Everyone is happy with the form we are in at the moment,” he said.

“We are winning games when we are not playing particularly well and that is important and a good test of character.

“You can’t play well every week, especially with how the pitches are at the moment.

“We have to win as many games as we can, maintain our form, and see where it takes us. Those extra points we can grind out count for a lot at the end of the season.

“But we need to worry about ourselves first and foremost by taking care of what we are doing because everything else takes care of itself.”