THE good ship Bury Town is set to depart pre-season shores for the sunshine of the Ryman League Premier Division, and supporters of the Blues will have their last chance to wave them off from Ram Meadow on Monday (7.45pm).
Blue Square Bet Premier outfit Cambridge United are in Suffolk for Bury’s final home friendly, although Richard Wilkins’ men also face a ride through choppy waters with a tricky test at newly-promoted Ryman One North side Leiston on August 13.
But with the crew nearing full staff – Russell Short and Roscoe Hipperson getting much-needed minutes this week – and Wilkins set to return from holiday to steer the ship at home to the U’s, there are plenty of reasons to believe the sail into Horsham on August 20 will be serene.
“We’ve had a range of tests during pre-season,” said assistant-manager Richard Skelly. “It will be good to play Cambridge United on Monday because they have been going well during pre-season.
“They will be strong and organised, although they are a young side, and we will be hoping we raise our levels to compete with them.
“Leiston have gone up and are a good side, so that will be a good one to finish on.”
And there are plenty of reasons for players to give their all against Cambridge and Leiston, with so much competition for places in the side.
The return to fitness of Short following a hernia operation means it is a toss up between him and Elliot Hunter for right-back, while Roscoe Hipperson will be hoping to regain his place at the heart of defence, but youngsters Jack Cawley and Sam Nunn are also bidding to partner skipper Tom Bullard.
With Danny Cunningham suspended at the start of the season, left-sided player Daryl Coakley is pushing for a start at Horsham.
Although James Scowcroft is suspended and Callum Kearns still undergoing rehabilitation for his serious knee injury, there are several options in central midfield, with new signings John Kennedy, Lee Smith and Stephen Smith competing against Craig Nurse and Lee Reed.
Meanwhile, trialists Roy Essandoh and Curtley Williams should have their future at the Blues decided by the end of next week, but young right-back Connor Scurlock is looking for another club after failing to secure a deal.
n Friday’s match at home to AFC Sudbury has been postponed after the Ram Meadow pitch cut up badly during the match against Colchester.
However, with the loan of some specialist equipment from Mike Verhelst at Bury St Edmunds Golf Club, chairman Russell Ward confirmed Monday’s match with Cambridge United would definitely go ahead.