With the first round of the Carabao Cup draw pitting the Shakers against Sunderland at Gigg Lane, Lee Clark is aware of the enormity of a game against his former club, and shows his delight on two counts. Firstly, it's a home game, against the highest ranking team in the competition, and, secondly, the decision to show the game live on Sky Sports, a decision he describes as a “no brainer”.
The new EFL Sky Bet League One fixtures however, is equally pleasing to the Shakers gaffer, but only because the schedule of games does not see Bury fans facing lengthy journeys at key times in the season, during holiday periods or even for Tuesday evening games.
Speaking of the Carabao Cup draw and the new Fixtures, Lee Clark said:
"The draw in the Carabao Cup is the best draw we could have had. Sunderland are the highest ranked team in the competition with them being a Premier League side last season. Obviously for me, personally, I have a link to the football club having had two fantastic years there. I know their support and the size of the club, they travel in huge numbers.
"It’s the best draw we could have hoped for, at home and an absolute no brainer that it was going to be the televised game. It's worked out well for us. In the past, where clubs have been drawn against each other and they have arranged games in pre-season, some clubs may have scrapped a friendly but we did talk to them and did consider cancelling the game next week. However, we didn't think that was necessary.
"The game with Sunderland, next Friday, is the first pre-season game for both clubs and that game will see a lot of changes in personal, where the main focus of the game will be football fitness. By the time we get to the cup tie, it will be about winning football matches, so we didn't feel it was necessary to cancel the pre-season friendly game.
"Now we know the league fixtures, we can start to sort them out logistically, but for me, I'm thankful that the fans do not have any disappointing journeys over holiday periods. That was a big thing for me and the fixture list has been very kind to our fans. Staff and players get looked after with the logistics of a game but, for me, the key component was the fans and their travelling and, thankfully, it’s been very kind to them.