THE signing of long-time target Jordan Patrick has vindicated Bury Town’s patient approach to the transfer market this summer.
Former Cambridge United winger Patrick, 21, turned the Blues down in the summer to sign for Cambridge City, but following his release from Milton Road has made the move to Ram Meadow.
However, manager Richard Wilkins has warned supporters not to expect the youngster’s best straight away as he adjusts to life outside of the professional game.
“We spoke to Jordan in May, June and July, but didn’t get him,” said the Blues boss. “A year to 18 months ago he was on a lot of people’s minds at Cambridge United because of his raw pace and agility.
“He’s got to get back up to those levels because he’s not guaranteed first-team football here and is going to have to work hard for it.”
Patrick’s new team-mate Billy Clark initially struggled to adapt to life outside of the professional game following his release by Ipswich Town, but after a number of poor performances in his early days in west Suffolk he is now proving to be one of Bury’s key men.
And Wilkins hopes Patrick – not to be confused with the ex-Luton striker of the same name – can grow in a similar way to help Clark fire Bury to promotion from the Ryman League Premier Division.
He said: “It does take time to adjust and hopefully it will help that Ben (Chenery, Bury assistant) and I are ex-pros and know that it takes time to settle down to a life where you are not living and breathing football every single day.”
One player standing in Patrick’s way of the starting XI is Luke Ingram, who marked his first start of the season with a stunning display in Bury’s 3-0 FA Cup victory over Canvey Island, which has set up a home tie against Ryman Premier rivals Wingate and Finchley in the second qualifying round on September 22.
During that game, the Blues’ close-knit spirit shone through brightly.
Sam Reed was mobbed by his team-mates after scoring his first goal of the season before the players donated their cup win bonuses to team-mate Callum Kearns, who yesterday had a second knee operation in the space of two years after seriously injuring himself on the opening day of the campaign.
Proud boss Wilkins said: “In this day and age when you have a lot of greed in the world, it’s nice people are still willing to do things that will help others.”
Bury’s manager also expects his side’s home Ryman Premier clash with Kingstonian tomorrow (3pm) to be their toughest test to date, both sides having picked up 11 points from a possible 15 so far this campaign.
The Blues have reverted to 4-5-1 to give them more attacking options and should retain the same starting XI that began Saturday’s clash with Canvey.
That means Patrick – who could miss out with a minor thigh niggle – fellow new winger Lee Flavin and the returning Allicion Blake – who was cup-tied on Saturday – may have to settle for places on the bench tomorrow.
John Sands (groin) has returned to light training, but will not be fit enough to face Kingstonian, while Kearns and Elliot Hunter (both knee) are long-term absentees.