A defeat at home last weekend, albeit to a world-class free-kick, but there were signs within the game that this long-awaited gelling process is clicking in. Crisp passing amongst the lads, strong challenges made and won and signs of that flowing football.
There were positives to take from the game, and those positives have been worked on and processed throughout a productive weekend at Carrington. Only a stunning free-kick in the dying minutes separated the two sides and, in all honesty, a draw would have been the preferred option until the 86th-minute strike.
Another boost to Lee Clark is the return to training, or near to return, of several key players coming back from injury. This weekend’s game may be too close to see the likes Eoghan O’Connell or Jay O’Shea, and we could probably include Tuesday night at Fleetwood in that, but they are a lot closer than they were this time last week.
Over the next four weeks, the lads have nine games and its pretty much Saturday – Tuesday for the next month. It’s the time of a season where an injury free squad will be made most welcome at any training ground up and down the country.
Stephen Dawson is the only player that will not be involved in any of these nine games. The remaining players should be in and around the squad for the next month with seven of those games coming in League action. That’s 18 points available to collect from now until the final game of the month against MK Dons on the 30th. Hopefully, things will be a whole lot clearer come the end of the month and with some signs of better things to come from last weekend.
One player that did make a return from injury is Chris Maguire. His troublesome thigh problem is a thing of the past and he got 30 minutes in last weekend, followed by a full week’s worth of training. Any football coach will tell you that a full week’s training will do nothing to help match fitness, and match fitness is what Maguire needs more than anything. You only get match fit, by playing a match.
Another name to add to the squad, and a name that’s hardly been mentioned by anyone is that of Mihai Dobre, or as he is known to many – Alex. He will arrive in the UK today (Friday) and travel to the Shakers’ training ground to meet with the Manager and coaching staff before travelling to Rotherham. Whether he will be involved within the 18 for Saturday’s game will be purely down to the Manager and the lads’ condition after travelling from his International duties with Romania.
We’ve been told of his electric pace down either flank, his ability to run with the ball and you can pretty much guarantee that any product of the Bournemouth coaching staff will possess the ability to impress. Time will be a factor in this one, will he be involved at the weekend – or will Lee Clark keep him under wraps until he is rested, has had a few training sessions with the lads and has had the chance to impress his new teammates.
There is a lot of disappointment about, but there’s no sign of panic from anyone. The positive signs from Saturday have been used and an attempt made to amplify those positive signs. There were improvements, there are more to come.
The odds for Saturday’s game are not that favourable for us, we may just upset one or two in the coming days and weeks as that improvement is put into further practice…
Lee Clark ahead of Saturdays game
Last time out: Rotherham United 0 Bury 0 – 12 March 2011
Promotion challengers Rotherham United and Bury played out a goalless draw at the Don Valley Stadium.
In a quiet first half, Ryan Taylor and Johnny Mullins went close for the home side, while Bury's Kyle Bennett saw his left-foot shot go just wide.
The visitors had the better chances in the second half - Tom Lees fired wide from six yards out and David Worrall hit the side netting.
Rotherham move up to fourth in League Two, while Bury remain second.
Rotherham United boss Ronnie Moore told BBC Radio Sheffield: "I think we did deserve to win it. To be honest they have had probably the best chance of the game but we had a lot of chances. We didn't get the break.
"They're second in the table but we're a better team."
Bury Manager Alan Knill told BBC Radio Manchester: "I thought it was a fair result. Both teams had chances, but both lacked that bit of quality needed to take the three points. It keeps them five points behind us with a game in hand and if you finish five points above Rotherham, that's a pretty good season you've had.
"We can play a lot better, but not to lose and a clean sheet is great for us."
Referee: Saturday’s referee is Mr Christopher Sarginson from Staffordshire
So far this season, Christopher has taken charge of six games – showing 17 yellow cards and two red cards. His last game was the EFL Sky Bet League Two game between Grimsby Town and Crewe Alexandra last weekend. The game finished as a 1-0 home win and four yellow cards were shown.
His last involvement in a Bury game was on 1 March 2016 and a 3-1 win against Peterborough United at Gigg Lane. With goals from Ryan Lowe, Leon Clarke and Andrew Tutte. Four yellow cards were shown with Peterborough’s Ricardo Santos also shown a red card.
Quick Betting Tip: Bury are 100/30 to win the game whist Rotherham United are 4/5. A draw is on offer at 13/5
Top Ten Tips for the game:
- Bury to win 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 – 9/2
- Jermaine Beckford first goal of the game and a 1-0 Bury win – 40/1
- Rohan Ince first goal of the game and a 2-1 Bury win – 220/1
- Bury to win by exactly two goals – 16/1
- Bury to win and both teams to score – 7/1
- Correct Score only – Rotherham United 1 Bury 2 12/1
- First goal – Beckford – 5/1
- Last goal – Bunn – 15/2
- To score a hat-trick – Jermaine Beckford – 80/1
- To score in 90 minutes – Harry Bunn – 5/2
for plenty of markets available on Saturdays game