DAVE McNabb says he will be looking for a reaction from his ‘heartbroken’ players with Bury’s title hopes no longer in their hands following Tuesday night’s defeat to Padiham.

The Shakers could have gone top of the table with a ‘home’ win - in a game switched to FC United’s Broadhurst Park - but a 2-1loss means they are now looking for both leaders Wythenshawe and second-placed Wythenshawe United to slip up on the final day.

A single point separate the top three so while winning the title and gaining the one automatic promotion spot is still a possibility, McNabb knows realistically he has to prepare for the play-offs - and is looking to end the regular season on a high with a derby win at a sell-out Ramsbottom United on Saturday.

“First and foremost we are going to need a massive reaction and, regards of what happens elsewhere, we need to try and get three points, try and get a win and go in to the play-offs with a bit of good form and on the back of a win,” he told the club website.

“Obviously we are back needing favours and it is in other people’s hands so we are going to prepare for Saturday as best we can. We will have one eye on the play-offs and who were are going to be playing.

“But we just need to get the lads back together, get their heads up and go again.”

With Wythenshawe drawing and Wythenshawe United losing at the weekend, Bury knew a win in the rearranged clash with Padiham - which was postponed on Saturday - would have meant their destiny would have been in their own hands.

But McNabb was left to rue another below par performance - especially in the first half - as Joel Brownhill gave Padiham an early lead.

The visitors then grabbed a second late in the second half through Tyler Beck before substitute Connor Comber pulled one back deep in to injury time.

“The lads are heartbroken, we all are,” added McNabb. “I think if you reflect on the first half performance, particularly the first 20 minutes, it just wasn’t good enough.

“It looked like we were panicking on the ball, giving the ball away, too many turnovers, not pressing and that’s what really hurts the most.

“Obviously, we have given the goal away, another sloppy goal. And then, the second part of the first half, and in to the second half, I thought we were really good.

“We played forward, people wanted the ball, trying to get on it. We hit the post three times, four times, their keeper has made two or three unbelievable saves.

“Sometimes when you get to that point you are just thinking we are not going to score even if we are here until midnight.”

He added: “In terms of the reaction and the character they have shown in the second half, I can’t really ask for much more. Unfortunately the quality was not there and we know that the group have got it.

“It just felt like one of those nights. We have got to regroup now, we have got a training session on Thursday and we have a massive game on Saturday that we have to go and try and win.”