RICHARD Skelly hailed Bury Town’s defensive attributes as they prepare to take their impressive record to Harrow Borough tomorrow (3pm) and Carshalton Athletic on Tuesday (7.45pm).
The Blues last conceded a goal from open play 954 minutes ago, despite having four different players feature at centre-half – Tom Bullard, Wayne Brown, Roscoe Hipperson and Sam Nunn.
And assistant-manager Skelly praised the attitude of the whole team that has seen them keep clean sheets in seven of their last 10 games, conceding just three penalties in that time.
“The back four have defended very well,” he said. “With the system we play, the full-backs have to rely on themselves because the wingers are pushed on, so a lot of credit has to go to Mark Coulson and Russell Short from that point of view.
“And whoever has played at centre-half has done very well – the whole team, especially the midfield in front, have helped with the defensive side of our game.
“Elliot Hunter coming into a holding midfield role has probably been the highlight of the season for me – he has helped protect the back four along with John Kennedy and Lee Smith.
“He’s normally a right-back and has only played a few games since coming back from a long-term injury, which shows what sort of lad he is – he has a very mature head on his shoulders.”
Meanwhile, teenage defender Jack Cawley, who starred against Colchester United in pre-season, has moved on loan to Hadleigh United in the Ridgeons League Premier Division, while Luke Ingram could also be moved out temporarily to get him regular first-team football.
Director of football Trevor Collins said: “We certainly think they have bright futures at the club.”
Sam Nunn returns to the squad having been unavailable for the trip to Aveley and replaces former Leicester City, Hull City and Preston North End centre-half Wayne Brown, who is set to miss a fortnight with a calf injury.
Mark Coulson is a doubt after being kneed in the back on Saturday, while Elliot Hunter could feature despite continuing to suffer minor niggles as a result of the long-term knee injury that kept him out for most of last season.
John Kennedy (Achilles) should be fit enough to take his place in the squad, having missed the Aveley match through suspension, while Sam Reed (hamstring) could be back in contention if he came through last night’s training session unscathed.
Callum Kearns (knee) and James Scowcroft (groin) remain long-term absentees, while Stephen Smith is struggling with an ankle injury.
Bury (from): Bullard, B Clark, Coulson, Cunningham, Fenner, Garnham, Hipperson, Hunter, Ingram, Kennedy, Leabon, Nunn, Nurse, L Reed, S Reed, Robbins, Sands, Short, L Smith, S Smith.