BURY’S head of recruitment Jimmy Holmes believes a smaller squad - focusing on quality and not quantity - will be key to a successful season.

The Shakers announced its retention list two weeks ago with several players leaving Gigg Lane - the latest being Andy Scarisbrick who opted to move on.

The Shakers made the first signings of the summer this week with Ruben Jerome and Iyrwah Gooden joining Dave McNabb’s side while Tanaka ‘Alex’ Cherera, Sam Couglan and Max Harrop have all penned new deals.

But Holmes insists whoever joins the Shakers, they have to be right for the club - especially if they plan to operate with fewer numbers.

“We don’t want to have a large playing squad,” Holmes told the club website. “Quality over quantity is the way forward so our fans can start to identify with the players and the team can have an identity of its own.

“The players we have identified are ones that will suit the manager’s philosophy and playing style plus the demands of this league and the problems it brings. Players that will be comfortable on our new 3G surface moving forward were also taken into consideration.

“This stage of the recruitment process is vital. I’m in constant dialogue with agents offering a wide range of players from all over the UK, that said we have our own targets that we have identified over a number of months, We can’t move away from those if we want to be successful.

“We want players that can play at the level that we are at but also players that we believe can play at the next level and beyond especially with the demands that a club like Bury has.

“We want players to grow with the club and become fan favourites.

“Recruiting the players that can handle the crowd and the expectations takes a lot more preparation than you would believe.

“Taking everything into consideration, we have basically had to build a brand new squad that we believe suits Bury FC as a whole.”

Benito Lowe, Harry Wright and Oli Jepson are the high profile members of the squad who have moved on while Jacob Holland-Wilkinson, Arthur Lomax-Jones, Joe Maguire, Dean Pinnington and Anton Smith have opted to seek pastures new.

Holmes said that while signing new players is part of building a new squad, keeping core members of existing squad is equally as important.

“The first part of this recruitment process is retention,” he said. “Although it sounds easy to most, keeping your current players at your own club takes planning and preparation.

“We remain in negotiations with some players but a number of the players that our management team looked to retain have decided that their futures lies elsewhere.

“Sometimes a player’s valuation and a club’s valuation can be worlds apart so we have to admit defeat in certain areas and move on if we feel it isn’t in the best interests of the club.”

He added: “We look forward to the new season and the challenges it brings. We know how difficult the league is and we won’t underestimate anyone.”