Bury AFC manager Andy Welsh says that every shirt is up for grabs as he continues to run the rule over his players ahead of the new season.

Twenty-two players featured in Saturday’s pre-season 1-0 defeat at Cheadle Town, as Welsh fielded two entirely different teams in each half.

But the former Stockport and Sunderland winger believes healthy competition within the squad will bring out the best in his team.

He said: “We’ve kept every player that we had last season and rightly so, because they worked hard for the shirts and know what the club’s about, so that gives us a good foundation to be working from.

“But we’re looking at a couple of other players as well to come in and add to what we’ve got. It might not always be the right decision to give them game time or it might be – you never know what you’re going to get sometimes.”

From a purely footballing sense, it was a disjointed display against an established side that play parallel to Bury in the southern section of the North West Counties Football League (NWCFL) Division One.

With so many players still building up time in the AFC shirt, however, the scoreline was not too high up the 38-year-old’s agenda.

Welsh added: “Overall, we’re pleased with the contribution of all the players today.

"I think from our part, it’s about getting the minutes in the legs of the players and getting that certain style of play of, if teams are sitting in against us or coming at us, being able to adapt well as the game’s going on.”

On a sun-soaked afternoon it was Bury’s two wide men who shone brightest as Aiden Chippendale and Lewis Gilboy made the most of their starting places in the AFC XI.

Gilboy provided the highlight of the half, after running onto a through ball from inside his own half from the right and turning his opposing full-back inside-out whilst motoring to the byline. His pull back into the area fell to midfielder Greg Daniels but unfortunately for the visitors, his tame effort was comfortably gathered by Cheadle’s goalkeeper, Marcus Burgess.

Gilboy was building on his previous stellar showing at Euxton Villa and Welsh was pleased with the youngster’s contribution.

He said: “We’ve said to him ‘we need an end-product in your game’ and we got that from him today. He got a number of crosses in, a couple of shots and he’s got pace to burn.

"So, we’re more than happy with Lewis’ contribution today but we expect him to be a big player this year.”

A different Bury side emerged after the break and with the sides level at 0-0 only two players kept their positions in a trialist left-back and new goalkeeper, Mike Emery.

With first choice stopper Ed Wilczynski suspended for the start of the season, it was Emery who had the chance to show his worth and he looked comfortable throughout. The former Boston United goalkeeper is experienced across non-league and was part of the Warrington Rylands squad that won the FA Vase in May.

The goalkeeper could do little to stop Cheadle scoring the game's only goal 10 minutes into the second half when Pat Davin scored from the penalty spot after Jordan Downing's foul.

The next test for Welsh’s squad is a trip to Squires Gate on Saturday in another friendly and the manager believes things are moving in the right direction.

He said: “As a football club we’re back out playing games again. I think from the playing side, we’re wanting to play in a certain way and we’ve seen that at times.

"There’s still a lot more work to do, but (there’s) positive signs, definitely.”