RICHARD Wilkins has demanded an explosive run of home form as he sets his sights on propelling Bury Town into the Blue Square Bet South (writes Mark Williams).
The Blues are one of those rare breeds who boast a better away record than their home exploits after claiming 35 points on their travels this term.
Second-placed Bury, who have attained 32 points at Ram Meadow, can draw that statistic level when they entertain an improving Croydon Athletic tomorrow (3pm).
But it is the sudden stutter on home soil – one win in four Ryman League Premier Division outings – that has given Wilkins food for thought.
“There is no doubt that our home form needs to get back on track,” said Wilkins. “We just haven’t performed at Ram Meadow for a while now and that needs to change if we are to get where we want to be.
“It could be down to a number of reasons. The players have not been at their best and have perhaps let the pressure get to them a little. The atmosphere in the ground has been a bit flat too, which doesn’t help.”
Seven points adrift of table-topping Sutton United and with a six-point buffer over the play-off chasers, it looks increasingly likely that Town will finish in second spot.
The runners-up enjoy home comfort in both the semi-final and final play-off games – making an improvement in home form all the more critical.
“We have three home matches left and we need to win all of them,” said Wilkins. “Croydon are doing a bit better of late but it is a must-win game for us.
“We still want to put Sutton under as much pressure as possible. Realistically, I can’t see them losing it now, but so long as it is mathematically possible, we will keep plugging away and you never know.
“Everyone is allowed a hiccup during the season and hopefully that is our one out of the way.”
Wilkins will have to manage without James Scowcroft for two weeks due to an ongoing Achilles injury, but skipper Tom Bullard could make the bench after an ankle problem. Nick Pope is poised to continue in goal at the expense of Marcus Garnham.
Sam Reed received special praise from his manager this week after the striker netted his 100th goal for Bury Town in the 2-1 triumph at Billericay Town on Saturday – Bury’s first win in three.
“He just never gave up for his goal and he deserves his 100th,” added Wilkins. “His record of 100 goals in four years speaks for itself and he brings so much more to the table as well.
“Overall, it was the best team performance I have seen so far this year. We went into the game in poor form, but the players rolled their sleeves up and worked extremely hard.”
n Bury supporters who own a season ticket at any Football League club can purchase a ticket for the Croydon match for £5 tomorrow.