CHRIS Lucketti's long-awaited return to Bury was not supposed to go like this.

After becoming a club legend as a player, he was assistant boss at Fleetwood and Scunthorpe and admitted if he was going to get the opportunity to manage, he wanted it to be at Bury.

Having been considered for the job before Lee Clark's appointment last February, that opportunity finally came in November. And he was a popular choice among most Bury fans, not only because of his status as a player.

Although this was Lucketti's first managerial appointment, the 46-year-old had spent almost five years serving his apprenticeship, mostly in League One.

And his tenure got off to a positive start with a goalless draw at Northampton and a Checkatrade Trophy win at Walsall. The latter game was particularly encouraging as it seemed Lucketti had a clear idea of how he wanted the team to play – 4-4-2 with Nicky Ajose playing off target man Michael Smith – and key players were set to come back from injury.

Bury were perhaps unfortunate to lose the next two at Portsmouth and Peterborough, with Smith an unused substitute for the latter. But then Ajose did not even make the bench as the Shakers were well beaten at home by Rotherham and Fleetwood over Christmas.

Top scorer Jermaine Beckford being ruled out for the season was a huge blow and the team's inability to score was most evident at Scunthorpe. Although they had more shots, they were virtually all from outside the box and the hosts nicked a late winner.

Lucketti then brought in three new players at Plymouth, only to lose 3-0, and the 3-4-2-1 formation last Saturday had many scratching their heads. Several players were out of position and new loanee James Hanson was isolated up front.

Perhaps Lucketti made too many changes to his formation and personnel. There did not seem to be any consistency with how he wanted the team to play.

It always seemed like one step forward, two steps back, but that was not always Lucketti's fault. Even when Nathan Cameron, Stephen Dawson and Danny Mayor returned, they could not play every game so occasionally had to be rested.

And let's not forget that some of the individual performances were so poor that Lucketti simply had to make a change and give someone else a chance – and his squad was so big there were so many players he had to look at.

Even on Saturday, Lucketti said he knew the club had the players. But most of those players have now failed to perform consistently under three different managers this season, including Ryan Lowe.

They must therefore shoulder some of the blame for Lucketti's return being so shortlived.