CALLUM Kearns hopes he can banish the mental scars of two of the most difficult nights of his career when he returns to Staines Town’s Wheatsheaf Park on Wednesday.
The former Southend United trainee suffered a serious knee injury that kept him out for more than a year when playing for Bury Town in an FA Cup tie at the Middlesex ground in October 2010, subsequently ruling him out of the Blues’ Suffolk Premier Cup triumph in April 2011.
But a winner’s medal from Bury’s Alan Boon Ryman League Cup final against East Thurrock United at Wheatsheaf Park on Wednesday (7.45pm) would complete a remarkable turnaround for midfielder Kearns.
“When I first got told where the final was, I thought to myself that I’m not playing there,” said the 23-year-old. “But the more games I’ve got under my belt I’m quite relishing going back there and being bold and brave about it.
“I think I’m near enough past that now – I used to have nightmares at even hearing the word Staines.”
Speaking about missing last year’s Suffolk Premier Cup final at Portman Road, Kearns added: “It was really hard I couldn’t have any involvement in the final, but obviously I was pleased for the team.”
Kearns has made just five starts for Bury since that cold and painful October night at Wheatsheaf Park, but has featured in full in each of the Blues’ last four games, at right-back in place of the injured Russell Short.
With Short fit again and pushing for a start in Bury’s Ryman Premier fixture at Hastings United tomorrow (3pm), Kearns could be considered in the mix with Lee Reed and John Kennedy for a spot in his more-favoured central midfield role.
Danny Cunningham also looks set for a recall to the starting XI following two brief substitute appearances this week, while Billy Clark is also in the equation following his suspension.
Sam Nunn (toe), Craig Nurse (ankle) and Elliot Hunter (knee) remain sidelined with injury.
Roscoe Hipperson was sent off in Bury’s cup final dress rehearsal defeat against East Thurrock, but his suspension will not be served until April 3, when the Blues host Wingate and Finchley.
Bury’s 11-match unbeaten run – the last of which was a 3-0 home win over Horsham on Saturday – came to an end with their 2-1 loss at East Thurrock on Tuesday, but manager Richard Wilkins saw enough to believe the Blues can lift the Ryman League Cup this week.
“The run has come to an end, which was unfortunate and undeserved, but that’s football,” he said. “You have to get on with it and it’s more important how you bounce back.”
Bury (from): Bullard, Clark, Coulson, Cunningham, Garnham, Hall, Hipperson, Kearns, Kennedy, Leabon, L Reed, S Reed, Sands, Short, Smith.