With the departure of Richie Barker to Crawley Town, Shakers fans were left feeling cautious and unenthused towards interim coach Peter Shirtliff, and temporary assistant Ben Futcher. Fears of long ball tactics and general unawareness were seemingly confirmed, as fans witnessed a frankly turgid afternoon of football.
The game still had the feel of a pre-season friendly with neither team posing much of a threat. It quickly became apparent that Brentford possessed more guile and adventure on the ball, with Shirtliff entertaining the game plan of – ‘let’s hoof the ball to a seemingly disinterested and quite frankly technically substandard Andy Bishop’.
I try not to be too harsh on ‘Bish’ but after witnessing his dull and half-hearted performance on Saturday coupled with an injury hit couple of years, I think it’s safe to call a day on Bishop’s long tenure at Gigg Lane, and make way for some genuine hunger to the Bury frontline. What was most apparent watching the Shakers was the lack of direction and understanding coming from the touchline.
Having been handed the reins Shirtliff’s first brainwave was to remove, arguably Bury’s best player in Peter Sweeney, from any probing pockets of space, and exile him out on the left wing; where he is totally ineffective. That alone, is enough to urge the Bury board to appoint a new man at the helm, and not just opt for the Bury way of ‘appoint from within’ – inevitably to save cash.
With various names rumoured to be interested in the job, ex-Shaker and fan favourite Andy Morrell seems to be a favourable choice among the Bury faithful. However other names have been banded about: some silly e.g. Gary and Phil Neville; some intriguing e.g. Mark Robins and David Flitcroft; some inspiring like Bury legend Stan Ternent; and some genuinely nauseating. I refer here to none other than notorious wally Chris Brass – the owner of the most embarrassing and slapstick own goal of all time, and general sycophant.
Whenever important decisions about the club need to be made, it would appear Brian Fenton is ‘away on holiday’. Either he discovers the bad news and immediately logs on, packs it and books it, or it is merely coincidence. Whether it’s Paul Ince or Dean Kiely – of paramount importance at the moment is the resolution of the manager situation.
With the Shakers travelling to the Keepmoat on Tuesday night, I would be surprised if slow, laborious tactics and head tennis win through, as Doncaster look a strong bet to make an immediate return to the Championship under Dean Saunders, and will likely prove a stern test.
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