Bury's young guns out to stop Alfreton

THEY'RE the young guns of Bury Town and they're out to stop Alfreton in their FA Cup tracks.Forget having years of experience slogging it out with journeymen players, pictured above is Bury Town Football Club's back line that beat Basingstoke in the last round of the FA Cup, and is likely to be the one that starts in next weekend's massive first round tie in Derbyshire.

Mike Bacon

THEY'RE the young guns of Bury Town and they're out to stop Alfreton in their FA Cup tracks.

Forget having years of experience slogging it out with journeymen players, pictured above is Bury Town Football Club's back line that beat Basingstoke in the last round of the FA Cup, and is likely to be the one that starts in next weekend's massive first round tie in Derbyshire.

Talented, fearless, call them what you will, but this Bury defence - Tom Bullard, Stuart Walker, Sam Nunn and Ashley Sloots - has an average age of just 20 - and is probably the youngest back line taking part in the FA Cup next week.


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All products of the West Suffolk Sports Academy, Bury boss Richard Wilkins has no fear in putting them on the team-sheet, no matter how big the game.

“It doesn't matter to me how old you are, if you are good enough, you are old enough,” Wilkins said.

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“It's a bit sink or swim I know and these lads maybe young, but they have had enough experience playing football at this level. I've every faith in them.

“They've all played in the Ridgeons League with Bury Town, most of them for the last two or three years.”

The current crop of Bury youngsters follow hot on the heels of the likes of Craig Parker, Daniel Thrower, Lewis Pemberton (all now at Needham Market), and others, who almost got the Ram Meadow club to FA Vase glory a few seasons ago, and who have all made the grade in local football.

It's a system that continues to bring forth and multiply in west Suffolk, built on the foundations of education and football coaching.

“At the West Suffolk Academy, the lads do full-time career work, from sports courses to carpentry, whatever path they wish to follow,” Wilkins added.

“They then get specialised football coaching four or five afternoons a week.”

For the likes of Bullard it's a system that has served well. And he has no doubts about the ability of the back line he leads

“Yes, we are all young, but it gives us a chance to express ourselves,” Bullard said.

“We have nothing to fear and have enough experience too. We've all played plenty of games between us.”

And the Bury young guns will need to muster all that experience as Alfreton boast 37-year-old Leo Fortune-West in their ranks.

He joined the Derbyshire club in the summer and the big former Gillingham, Orient and Cambridge United player, could well cause problems for the young defence.

Lack of confidence however won't be a Bury back-line issue in Derbyshire on Saturday week.

Wilkins, Bullard and co, will make sure of that.

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