Bury Town defender Russell Short relishing player-coach role at Ryman Premier club

Russell Short

Russell Short - Credit: James Ager

Russell Short has backed Bury Town to cause a few upsets next season after returning to the club in a player-coach role.

The 25-year-old left the club during the middle of last season to join Southern League Premier Division side Biggleswade Town, but has re-joined the Blues, ahead of the new Ryman Premier League campaign.

Short, a former Ipswich Town youth player, will have a big role to play on the pitch this season, but will also be expected to play his part as a coach under new manager Ben Chenery.

Chenery replaced long-serving boss Richard Wilkins, who stepped down at the end of last season, and has managed to retain many of last season’s squad, including goalkeeper Marcus Garnham, defender Seb Dunbar and forward Billy Clark.

However, the loss of influential skipper Tom Bullard to divisional rivals Leiston is a blow to the Blues, especially as they hit some patchy form following the departures of Short, Shane Tolley, David Bridges and Ryan Semple at the start of the year.

With that in mind, Short believes Town could be under-estimated next season.

“Ben has done really well to keep the lads he was working with,” said Short.

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“He is a positive character, will bring a fresh approach to the team and I think we might surprise a few people next season.

“I don’t think people will be expecting much from us but I am confident in our philosophy and what we want to do and I am looking forward to the challenge.”

Short’s appointment as first-team coach will see the defender combine that role with his job as a Football Development Coach at Huntingdonshire Regional College.

The role will be a new challenge for him but will not require a character change in the dressing room and he insists he will still be very much part of the team’s banter.

“I won’t change and that was a conversation I had with Ben (Chenery) who wants me to be myself,” said Short, who is studying for his UEFA B coaching licence.

“Ben sees that as a positive although I will be keeping an eye on things from a coaching point-of-view.”

Milton Keynes-based Short left the club in January, citing the distance he would be required to travel to Bury, following the departures of the three players he shared a car to training and games with, Tolley, Bridges and Semple.

He admits he did not envisage being back at Ram Meadow.

“I did not expect it and I had a few good playing offers from elsewhere, but Ben called me and put the opportunity to me,” Short explained.

“It was something that was too good to turn down and it fits in with my main job during the day.”

He added: “It was obviously hard to leave Bury before, after being at the club for so long, but under the circumstances it made sense to go and I got the opportunity to play at Biggleswade. I am glad I took the chance at the time.”

Meanwhile, Town will kick off their pre-season campaign away at Gorleston on Saturday July 12 (3pm KO).

They will also face trips to Walsham-le-Willows (July 15, 7.45pm), AFC Sudbury (July 19, 3pm) and Mildenhall Town (July 22, 7.30pm).

Bury will also play three home games during pre-season against Colchester United on Saturday, July 26 (3pm), Lowestoft Town (July 29, 7.45pm) and Cambridge United (August 4, 7.45pm KO)

n Meanwhile, the club has a new main sponsor, Plastic Trade Frames (PTF), which will replace long-serving sponsor Frames Conservatories Direct.

PTF will also sponsor the Bury & District Sunday League.