ROSCOE Hipperson plans to use every bit of his experience to help Bury Town to promotion, but believes last season’s play-off heartbreak will provide the biggest motivation of all.
The veteran centre-back looks set to overcome a niggling medial ligament injury in his knee to line up at the heart of the Blues’ defence in their final Ryman Premier match of the season at relegated Tooting and Mitcham United tomorrow (3pm).
Bury need a point to earn their place in the promotion play-off semi-finals on Wednesday, when they would travel to AFC Hornchurch or Suffolk rivals Lowestoft Town (7.45pm).
“There’s pressure to get a result to ensure a place in the play-offs,” said the 36-year-old. “That’s fine – I can handle that because I’ve been there before and done it.”
With Tooting on a particularly bad run of form, having lost their last two matches 6-0 and 5-0, most – if not all – of the Blues’ supporters expect Bury to reach the play-offs for a second successive season.
During a nine-year career with Histon, Hipperson was a key figure in the Stutes’ rise through the non-League pyramid.
However, he endured similar play-off heartbreak to that Bury suffered last season before bouncing back to achieve promotion with the Cambridgeshire outfit the following campaign.
Hipperson, who runs Fit Club gyms in Diss and Wymondham, said: “It was particularly sickening to lose out to Lowestoft last season – a team I felt we had the better of most of the time last season.
“It still hurts a great deal of people in the squad and we will take that into the play-offs with us this season – that will help inspire us to progress.”
With skipper Tom Bullard suspended for the rest of the Ryman League season, Hipperson looks set to line up alongside Sam Nunn in central defence and hopes they can quickly form a good partnership.
It is usually one or the other who plays alongside Bullard, but when they were paired together earlier in the season Bury looked solid.
“We are both similar players and like to go and attack the ball,” added Hipperson. “We’ve played together well in the past – in the limited chances we’ve had to develop a relationship we’ve managed to.”
Should Hipperson fail a late fitness test, teenager Connor Hall would be next in line for a centre-half slot.
n Read our big match preview on Pages 158/159, including interviews with Sam Reed, Lee Smith, John Sands, Connor Hall and Richard Wilkins.
n Follow play-off week via www.buryfreepress.co.uk