Bury players look to give captain Barber perfect send off in Premier Cup
Retiring Bury Town captain Bradley Barber will be hoping his team-mates can give him one last special moment with them as they gear up for Wednesday’s Suffolk Premier Cup final at Portman Road (7.30pm).
In what has probably been one of the worst-kept secrets at Ram Meadow, the 32-year-old has been forced to hang up his boots early due to a reoccurring back injury that he has been struggling with for the past few seasons.
He has not played since February and will not be able to play a role when the Blues take on higher-league Leiston at Ipswich Town’s ground for county cup honours to end their season.
But manager Ben Chenery hopes the players can giftwrap a trophy to hold up in his final duty as captain, having not done so before now.
“He has been fantastic for us over the last few seasons and a great captain to me,” he said. “I haven’t seen a better left foot in this league and his delivery is exceptional.
“It is a really big shame but we had a chat and he has decided to retire because he is a carpenter by trade.
“We have been trying our best to nurse him through it but it has been leaving him in a lot of pain and unable to walk for a few days after a game, which is not conducive to his work.
“It is a bit like what I went through in that it is down to wear and tear.”
He added: “He is someone we will miss but he has been helping us out in the dugout and we are hoping he may still be around in some capacity.”
Bury, who finished their Bostik League North Division season in ninth place, following Saturday’s 2-1 (Cemal Ramadan pen) home defeat to Haringey Borough, who qualified for the play-offs, will be sweating on the fitness of goalkeeper Luis Tibbles (ankle) right up until the day, while Tevan Allen (ankle) and Ryan Jolland (groin) are expected to be available.
If Tibbles, who has forged a reputation for saving penalties this season, is not available Chenery is set to go with back-up ‘keeper Ben Mayhew — dual registered with Ely City — who has played six times this season, including standing in on Saturday. Goalkeeper coach Alex Rossis is registered to be able to be named in the squad.
Neither of the Ipswich Town loannees, Jack Lankester or Brett McGavin, are eligible to play, nor is former Bury striker Darren Mills, now at Leiston alongside ex-Bury players Marcus Garnham, Tom Bullard, Chris Henderson and Seb Dunbar.
Glenn Driver’s side were in action in the Bostik League Premier Division play-off semi-final last night and would have to play the final two days before on Monday.
Chenery said he did not think that would hand them a big advantage and said: “Leiston are an exceptionally good side and are higher-league opposition. It will be a good challenge and a big test for us.
“It will be a great way to end the season.”
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