Bury braced for FA Cup clash

A MARKET town has gone football crazy ahead of one of the biggest days in its history.

Dave Gooderham

A MARKET town has gone football crazy ahead of one of the biggest days in its history.

Bury Town Football Club last reached the first round of the FA Cup 40 years ago and today its players will bid to go one better and make the second round for the first time by beating Derbyshire team Alfreton Town.

Manager Richard Wilkins' young side - many of whom started their careers playing at Bury's West Suffolk College - have already earned huge plaudits following giant-killing victories against Chelmsford City and the hugely impressive 4-1 victory against higher league Basingstoke Town in the last round.

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Now, after overcoming initial disappointment of missing out on a mouth-watering and lucrative clash against the likes of Leeds United, all eyes will be on Bury to see if they can make club history and get to within a match of a potential clash with Manchester United or Arsenal.

Adrian Lewis has got more reason than most to hope the Suffolk side can yet again upset the odds and return to the county with a place in the next round of the prestigious cup competition.

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Mr Lewis, club vice-chairman and managing director of its main sponsor, Frames Conservatories Direct, said: “Speaking to businesses and people around the town, there is a real buzz about the place. There is a strong belief around the club, we have had a great run of results recently and everyone is really feeling confident.

“There is a fantastic team of volunteers who help out and it is great for them that we have got this far. We hope the team's success will encourage other businesses to pick up on it and get involved.”

Community leaders this week joined the growing chorus of new-found supporters of the club and 300 fans were expected to set off on this morning for the long journey to Derbyshire.

Richard Rout, leader of Bury Town Council, said: “Their achievements thus far have been absolutely fantastic and a credit to the town. It would have been great to see them draw a big team and receive a cash boost, but I wish them all the best for the upcoming match.”

St Edmundsbury Borough Council leader, John Griffiths, added: “I think the whole town and the whole area is very proud of Bury FC and we are all right behind them. What they have done is a great accolade for Bury and west Suffolk.”

Chairman Russell Ward said he was delighted with the reaction the club had received in the town since making the first round, adding: “From the pub to the supermarket, everywhere you go people are talking about it. It really has caught the imagination.”

The EADT is among the supporters backing Bury Town to even greater glory than its FA first round experience in 1968 - when the Suffolk squad met Bounemouth, eventually losing an away replay 3-0 after holding the then Division Three leaders to a goalless draw.

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