Bury Town boss Richard Wilkins targets Conference players
BURY Town boss Richard Wilkins is hoping to add up to three Conference players to his squad before the start of the season.
Wilkins, who has yet to replace any of the five first-team squad members who have departed over the summer, remains unconcerned with the start of the Ryman League Premier Division season just two-and-a-half weeks away.
Roscoe Hipperson, Kieran Leabon and Craig Nurse were all released, while wingers Lee Smith and Danny Cunningham have signed for Suffolk rivals Lowestoft Town since the end of last season.
Wilkins said: “I am a great believer that the starting XI we can put out is good enough to be up there challenging, but we need two or three other players of quality to push them to get a place in the team.
“We are very limited at the moment because we have lost both our wide players. The Lee Smith scenario dragged on, and we spoke to a few wingers but we could not sign them because we were waiting for Lee. In the end we had to let them go, but they would have been good replacements.
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Wilkins said that Bury had “identified quite a few players” as potential targets, and it is possible one of them could be in the squad tonight to face last season’s League One champions Charlton Athletic. The players he is looking to bring in are ones who have played at Conference level or Conference North/South level.
Charlton goalkeeper Nick Pope will miss tonight’s match against his former club Bury Town. The 20-year-old, who joined the Addicks from Bury in May last year, has undergone a cartilage operation and so is sidelined for the match at Ram Meadow, kick-off 7.45pm, which has been arranged as part of the deal.
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Wilkins said: “I think they will be bringing a relatively strong side along. It should be a great test for us and great for the fans to watch.”
Although the lack of transfer activity has been frustrating so far, Bury have been boosted by the decision of Sam Reed to stay with the club and the arrival of Ben Chenery as assistant manager - the same role he held at Chelmsford City until the end of last season.
Wilkins said: “I knew Ben when he played for Cambridge United and we have always got on well. He has a good footballing brain. With the situation regarding James Scowcroft’s availability undecided, I called Ben to see if he would be interested in joining us as he had just been released by Chelmsford City.”
With Scowcroft having since taken on the role of coaching Ipswich Town’s under-14 academy and therefore unable to commit to the post of assistant manager at Bury, Wilkins moved swiftly to secure Chenery’s services.
Scowcroft, who had hoped to combine the role of coaching with playing, will instead be the club’s first-team coach.