Bury Town are hoping to avoid a repeat of last summer’s contract fiasco after agreeing a new deal with Tom Bullard and awarding him a testimonial.
The Blues’ skipper, 26, has been with the club for 10 years, so will be rewarded for his loyalty with a match in his honour this summer, as well as other events over the course of the 2013/14 season.
More importantly for Bury fans, manager Richard Wilkins hopes the extension of Bullard’s contract will help persuade some of the centre-half’s team-mates to agree deals in the coming weeks.
“We are trying to get a few players sorted out early, which we failed to do last year,” said Wilkins. “Bully should be the first to sign of a fair few over the next month.”
Last summer, Bury’s preparations for the new season were blighted by a number of players running out of contract, with key players able to talk to other clubs.
Bullard, Sam Reed and Russell Short were among those offered lucrative deals elsewhere, but decided to stay at Ram Meadow in the end.
As well as signing his new deal, Bullard — who joined the Blues as a 16-year-old — has been granted a testimonial season, much to the delight of the captain.
Meanwhile, Wilkins is hopeful of Billy Clark (ankle) playing some part towards the end of the season, and Connor Hall (knee) hopes to be able to complete some running work next week.
Lee Reed was finally due to undergo a hernia operation yesterday, having been misdiagnosed with a torn stomach muscle at a hospital appointment a few weeks ago.
Callum Kearns (knee) remains a long-term absentee.
Volunteers were attempting to clear the pitch yesterday in a bid to get matches with Concord Rangers tomorrow (3pm) and Lowestoft Town Tuesday (7.45pm) on. Details at www.buryfreepress.co.uk