FOOTBALL’S silly season has begun so Richard Wilkins is taking nothing for granted as Bury Town prepare to welcome Horsham to Ram Meadow tomorrow (3pm).
The Blues’ opponents have won just once in the Ryman League Premier Division since August 2011, but earned a surprise 2-2 draw at title-chasing Billericay Town on Saturday.
All three sides above Bury in the table – AFC Hornchurch, Billericay and Lowestoft Town – have dropped significant points in the last month, leaving Blues boss Wilkins wary of the visit of the Hornets.
“It is a tricky one,” he said. “In March and April you always see results you wouldn’t forecast and, for reasons unknown, teams at the bottom start to smell the coffee and are more determined to win games and stay up.
“Although Horsham look like they are going down and are probably planning for next season, we can’t underestimate them because they went to Billericay and got a 2-2 draw.”
With the top three stuttering slightly, Bury have not given up hope of making a charge for the Ryman Premier title over the final 10 games of the season.
Victories over Horsham tomorrow and at East Thurrock United on Tuesday (7.45pm) – also a Ryman League Cup final dress rehearsal ahead of the following Wednesday’s showpiece – could take the fourth-placed Blues into an even more promising position in the table.
“We’ve got 10 massive league games left and six wins will possibly be enough to get in the play-offs,” said Wilkins. “A lot of the top teams are playing each other over the next few weeks, so there could be an opportunity for us to put some pressure on them.”
Russell Short (medial ligaments) and Sam Nunn (toe) remain at least another week to 10 days away from action, but Mark Coulson (groin) is fit to resume his role at left-back in place of Connor Hall, who is away on international duty with England Colleges.
Billy Clark will serve a two-match suspension this week for picking up 10 yellow cards while Elliot Hunter (knee) remains a long-term absentee.
Craig Nurse should be fit and available despite suffering an ankle injury during Team Bury’s 3-1 triumph over Stowmarket Town on Tuesday, while Danny Cunning-ham (ankle) and Kieran Leabon (ill) could be considered for starts after making the Bury bench at Kingstonian on Sunday.
Roscoe Hipperson should partner Tom Bullard at the heart of the Blues’ defence, as he did on Sunday, after overcoming a back injury.
Bury (from): Bullard, Coulson, Cunningham, Garnham, Hitching, Hipperson, Kearns, Kennedy, Key, Leabon, Nurse, L Reed, S Reed, Sands, Smith.