Bury Town looking to upset Conference South’s Eastleigh and reach Second Round of the FA Trophy

Bury will welcome back giant defender Adam Bailey-Dennis, right, today

Bury will welcome back giant defender Adam Bailey-Dennis, right, today - Credit: Andy Abbott

Bury Town can reach the Second Round Proper of the FA Trophy for the first time since the 1970/71 season with victory over high-flying Conference South outfit Eastleigh at Ram Meadow this weekend.

The Blues will certainly be the underdogs against a team sitting in second place in the division above them, but will be hoping to replicate their 70/71 success which finally saw them bow out against Hereford United.

Bury boss Richard Wilkins is aware of the task his side face but is hoping his side can overcome the odds and cause an upset in such a highly-respected competition.

“It’ll be tough for us, that’s for sure,” said Wilkins.

“They’ve spent a lot of money and boast some serious attacking threat.

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“They’re very strong all over the pitch and in my opinion are destined for the Conference.”

Bury have been in clinical form so far in this competition, cruising into the last 64 with convincing wins over Dereham Town (2-0), Chatham Town (2-1) and Grays Athletic (5-1).

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All of these games were at home and Wilkins is hoping his side can once again use home comforts to their advantage this weekend and net £5,000 in prize money.

“Being at home is always nice,” added Wilkins.

“Obviously we have the Christmas market to compete with but I’m hoping for a big crowd because they can make a big difference and really give us hope.”

Gaining victory over an Eastleigh side that currently find themselves in second-place in the Conference South is an task easier said than done.

However, Bury can draw confidence from The Spitfires recent 2-1 defeat to Tonbridge Angels, a side AFC Sudbury pushed all the way in the last round of fixtures in the FA Trophy.

“I’m not sure if them losing to Tonbridge is a good or a bad thing!” confessed Wilkins.

“You’d think it’d please us but in the same way their gaffer might have come down on them like a ton of bricks and expect a reaction against us so you never know.”

Wilkins is set to be without key duo Russell Short and David Bridges tomorrow.

“Russell has been superb for us so far this season but we think he’s got a cartilage problem so he could be out for some while,” Wilkins confirmed.

“David’s out after breaking his hand as well so it’s a blow for us as I’d have liked to have been at absolute full-strength with my best possible 11 for this game but you can’t help injuries.”

Someone Wilkins is set to welcome back is Adam Bailey-Dennis. The giant centre-back missed the 5-2 defeat to Bognor Regis last weekend with a knee problem but is set to return to the starting line-up tomorrow.

“We weren’t at our best last week and 5-2 flattered them to be honest,” confessed Wilkins.

“We missed a load of chances and conceded soft goals so we’ll need to sharpen up against Eastleigh that’s for sure.

“Obviously Russell’s out but Adam should be back and that’s a big bonus as they’re a big group of lads.

“Jai Reason is one of their strikers as well and he’s not a bad player to have is he?”

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