The gaffer knows his formation and he knows how he wants the side to play and the fact that he must fill eleven places is not lost on his thinking process ahead of Saturday’s game with Crewe Alexandra. Exactly which names go into that starting eleven is entirely down to the players and how they perform over the next 14 days.
Three games of a pre-season campaign are all that are left before Walsall arrive at Gigg Lane on 5th August, however, those three games will not convince the manager that he has his first eleven though as work rate, on the training ground, is very much a part of his thought process as we lead up to the start of another season.
Defensively, in midfield and at the sharp end there is a rich abundance of competition for places as only one position lacks any competition and it’s a position the manager is keen to fill quickly with the addition of a second goalkeeper. Any second ‘keeper coming into the club though, will not be a number two. He must fit in and challenge Joe Murphy for the right to start the game against Walsall. The first name on the team sheet will be Joe Murphy – for now but, should the manager get the keeper he wants, then that decision will become a lot harder.
The side has an attacking flair to it and, with the addition of Chris Maguire this week, it adds a more bite, more steel and certainly an extra bullet to Lee Clark’s armoury in the set piece department. Back in December, Oxford United came to Gigg Lane. They won two free kicks, outside the area, and Chris Maguire put both away. His celebration saw him run to the south stand for one and it will be nice to see him do the same in a white shirt, rather than a yellow one.
Defender Phil Edwards will miss three to four weeks following surgery to his knee whilst Joe Skarz and Adam Thompson have both recovered from slight knocks and both should feature in this game. Danny Mayor and Nathan Cameron could both get another run-out as they recover from a season, and summer, of injury. With no other injury concerns, Leigh Clark will use this game to enhance fitness but, also for the first time this pre-season, as a tactical test for the lads and set-pieces, attacking options and defensive options will all be put to the test against Crewe on Saturday
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Coverage: Full match commentary will be available FREE of charge, on iFollow Bury, with our usual commentary team of Maurice Dickson and Brian Rigby, from around 2:45pm via the Match Centre on the top of the website. We will also have updates throughout the game via our official Twitter account (@buryfcofficial). Video Interviews with Lee Clark and key players from the game will be live on iFollow Bury, late on Saturday evening, along with our Match Report and club photographer Ross Cooke’s Match Action Images.
Enjoy the game!