It’s all change as Suffolk duo Bury Town and Leiston collide once more in an eagerly-anticipated Ryman Premier encounter
- Credit: Archant
Leiston travel to neighbours Bury Town tomorrow evening in what promises to be a keenly-contested Suffolk derby, full of passion and desire.
Eighth-placed Bury thumped 12th-placed Leiston 4-0 at Victory Road back in August but much has changed for both sides since then.
A brace from David Bridges as well as single goals from John Sands and Ryan Semple gave Richard Wilkins’ men the points in a game Leiston flattered to deceive in.
Fast-forward to the present, and Bury’s well-documented financial problems have seen the goalscorers from that emphatic victory all leave the club while Leiston have seen two managers in Danny Laws and Steve Pitt depart Victory Road since then.
In-form Bury, who have enjoyed an excellent recent run despite their problems, have emerged as the ‘derby kings’ this season having already beaten Lowestoft Town in league and cup action as well as the earlier Leiston triumph.
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If Bury have become known as the ‘derby kings’ this campaign then Steve Ball’s Leiston must be addressed as the ‘derby novices’ - with a double league defeat against Lowestoft adding to the Bury loss.
In fact, the Blues of Leiston have failed to score in any of their league derby games this season, but Ball has revived the club’s fortunes since being appointed in December and his men have been one of the form teams in the Ryman Prem of late and go into tomorrow’s game on the back of a superb 3-2 victory away at Canvey Island, mainly thanks to a double from Gareth Heath.
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Both managers are familiar to one another having played together at both Colchester and Cambridge United, and are both expecting a good game.
“It’s a huge game,” said Wilkins, who will be without first choice centre-half pairing Adam Bailey-Dennis and Tom Bullard through suspension tomorrow.
“The result earlier in the season adds a bit more spice to proceedings and we always have decent games against each other.
“It’s a tough ask for us without our centre-halves but we’ll have a shuffle around and it gives some of the younger lads a chance.
“Bully and Adam will be big misses but it’s all hands on deck for us now and everyone will have to just get on with it and continue the levels of effort and commitment shown so far this season.”
Leiston boss Ball said: “Bury is a great test for us.
“I know they dominated back at our place but I’d like to think that we’ve come quite a long way in a short period of time.
“Bury are a massive club, and in many ways one that we should aspire to be like - they’re proven and consistent performers at Ryman Premier level.”
Ball is likely to be without star man Joe Francis (knee) tomorrow but will welcome former Bury defender Adam Tann back into the squad.
Bury meanwhile, will give a debut to new signing Callum Bennett, who has signed a pay-as-you-play deal at Ram Meadow until the end of the season.
The former Ipswich Town youngster, who was released from Notts County last month, can operate at both right-back and in midfield.
A win for Leiston could see them climb as high as ninth and close the gap to just five points on Bury, while a win for the hosts would see them pull 11 points clear of their Suffolk rivals.