Bury boss Wilkins already turns his attentions to next season

WITHIN an hour of suffering play-off heartache at the hands of their local rivals, Bury Town boss Richard Wilkins had begun plotting.

Still raw from Lowestoft Town’s deserved 2-1 win, Wilkins was joined by director of football Trevor Collins as thoughts commendably turned to improvements for next season.

Most of the current squad, that exceeded their manager’s expectations by finishing third in the Ryman League Premier Division, have already signed up and Wilkins believes there will only be a handful of new additions joining them at Ram Meadow.

Wilkins said: “I am not one of those managers who will bring in seven or eight new players. We have come up with some names, some to improve the squad and some to enhance the starting 11.

“Over the coming weeks, we will address the areas we need to strengthen. But there won’t be many changes, maybe just three or four.”

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After a fantastic debut in the Premier Division, cut short by Tuesday night’s play-off semi-final defeat, Bury will go into next season among the promotion favourites – at the same time as they lose their surprise factor.

Wilkins said: “It is always difficult when you come into a new league and I didn’t know what to expect. But I did know the lads could perform at this level and more than hold their own. Next season will be difficult as perhaps other teams might take us a little bit more seriously.”

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While transfers should be kept to a minimum, it promises to be a busy summer for chairman Russell Ward and his team with more than an eye on moving away from Ram Meadow and into a purpose-built stadium on the outskirts of town.

Ward revealed that next season could be their last at the ramshackled ground, although midway through the 2012/13 campaign seems a more likely moving-in date.

Reflecting on the season, the chairman said: “We are of course disappointed to have lost the play-offs, but this is more than just one game. We are steadily building, I know we are moving in the right direction and I am delighted with how the side has played this season.

“I think we need to strengthen in certain areas and we will look to West Suffolk College for young talent as well as other local players. But we won’t throw silly money around.”

Marcus Garnham, Russell Short and Elliott Hunter are among those who have recently signed new contracts for next season.

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