RYAN Lowe insists Bury are still heading in the right direction in their bid to climb out of the League One drop zone.

Tuesday night’s 0-0 draw with Southend saw the Shakers stretch their unbeaten run to five and edge above Rochdale at the bottom. But other results meant Bury actually slipped to 10 points from safety and Dale have four games in hand.

“It’s another point, a clean sheet and we’re off the bottom, so it’s another step in the right direction,” said Lowe. “I’m proud of what the lads have done over the past five games and what we’re working to achieve. We’re all doing a job to get the club out of the mess that we’re in, but it doesn’t just happen overnight.

“We’d been sitting rock-bottom so it is a boost to get off there and it’s our aim to keep moving up. I know other teams have games in hand but they’ve got to win them and it’s not easy. All we can do is worry about ourselves, keep picking up points and see where it takes us.”

The Shakers have an extra two days’ rest before Monday’s televised match at third-placed Blackburn Rovers.

The busy recent schedule saw Lowe bring Tsun Dai and Ryan Cooney back onto the bench against Southend, while fellow midfielder Joe Adams, who celebrated his 17th birthday on Tuesday, was named in the matchday squad for the first time.

“Had the scoreline been a bit different, Joe would probably have got on the pitch because he’s earned it,” Lowe added.

“He’s been outstanding in the youth team and when I told him he was on the bench it was a surprise birthday present.

“It was a good experience for him, for Cooney as well, and Tsun’s come back into the fold.

“We had to call on them because of a lack of bodies and numbers, so I’m pleased there’s a bit of a break before Blackburn.”

Adams is set to feature in Friday night’s FA Youth Cup fifth-round tie against Birmingham, which kicks off at 7pm at Gigg Lane. The winners will travel to Norwich in the quarter-finals.