Fan power can carry Athletic to crucial victory at Bury

Reporter: Simon Smedley
Date published: 08 March 2018

Athletic’s considerable fan power can help the team achieve their goal of securing another precious Sky Bet League One victory at local rivals Bury on Saturday.

It’s derby day at Gigg Lane, and already Athletic have sold out of their 2,000-plus ticket allocation for the short trip.

Supporters can still pay on the gate on the day, however, as they have now been allocated additional seats in the East Stand.

Athletic first team coach Paul Terry certainly appreciates the support, as do the rest of the coaching staff and of course, the players.

Terry said: “The fans have been fantastic ever since I came in. Home and away they’ve been superb.

“Look at the last two away games especially. At Blackburn and Scunthorpe they were like the twelfth man for us.

“They sing from the moment we go out and warm up, right until the end of the game.

“That does give the players a lift. They know the fans are right behind them and that’s just the passion.

“When we score they can get carried away with the moment, and that’s great to see.

“We really appreciate their support. We just need it so much between now and the end of the season.”

It is another massive game for Athletic as they continue their bid to steer clear of the drop zone.

They are unbeaten in four games, with last weekend’s brilliant win at Scunthorpe lifting them out of the bottom four.

The Shakers remain rock-bottom of the table, but they have showed improved form since Ryan Lowe replaced Chris Lucketti as manager in January.

Bury have lost just once in their last seven outings.

Terry – who stood in for ill Athletic boss Richie Wellens at today’s press conference – said: “It’s a local derby, against another team that’s down there.

“They’ve been on a good run too, though, since Ryan Lowe went in.

“We’re expecting to face a team who are fighting for their lives, but Lowey has gone in there and got a response, a bit like the gaffer did here.

“He’s got Bury playing well, they’re scoring, they’re pressing, but I think we’ve got enough in our dressing room to go and counteract that and go and get the points we need.

“We’re on a good run ourselves, so we’re looking forward to the challenge – it should be a good game.

“We won’t change our preparations really. We’ll keep our thoughts and processes the same because it has been working for us of late.

“It’s important to keep things the same. We won’t disrupt too much because we know that if we play the right way, then we can be a match for anyone in this league. I think we’ve proved that throughout the season.

“Every win, every point is vital for us now. Every player is vital in our aim to getting safe at the end of the season.

“We are doing that at the moment, but there is still a long way to go so we need to keep doing these things right.”

Wellens will have a fully-fit squad to pick from on Saturday, now that Eoin Doyle and Patrick McEleney are back in action. Both scored a goal apiece in the 2-0 win at Scunthorpe.

Terry added: “We’ve got more or less a fully-fit squad available for this important nine or 10-game run-in now.

“It doesn’t really matter where we are right now, though.

“As long as we’re out of that bottom four come the end of the season – which we believe we will be – that’s all that matters.

“Everyone is chomping at the bit to get in the side and ready to really fight for a place in the 18.

“It is hard to leave players out because every one of them is continually putting in a shift and working hard, but that’s what our job is as staff, to pick the 11 and then the 18 that’s going to go and win a game.

“It’s a nice problem to have because it felt at one time this season like we could only just about field 12 players.”