Bury will make history when their first-ever National League campaign begins tomorrow — but it is just the start of the club’s plan.
Head coach Gavin Hogg wants to make Bury the best side in East Anglia by overtaking National Two South side Cambridge in the pyramid in the coming seasons.
But he is well aware that his first mission is to make sure the Suffolk side establish themselves in National League Three London and South East, starting with their opening-day visit from Old Elthamians tomorrow (3pm).
“We would like to be in a position to push for promotion in the near future,” said Hogg. “We are very realistic though that this level is going to be very competitive and will probably take us this season to find out feet.
“With our infrastructure and facilities, we would like to be competing with the best clubs in this area.
“We would like to be known as the standout club in the Eastern Counties.”
Bury were confident about their promotion chances from the word go last season, but Hogg will not set any targets until their first six games have been completed.
Old Elthamians were a newly-promoted side last season and finished sixth in their first campaign.
They could be among those battling for promotion this campaign so Hogg is looking forward to the challenge of facing them.
“We are expecting a tough encounter,” he said. “We probably could have had an easier opening fixture, but we are very grateful to be at home.”
Prop James Mitchell — one of Bury’s new signings — is unavailable, while fellow forward Ben Radmall is an injury doubt for the match, but Hogg has an otherwise fully-fit squad to choose from this weekend.
“Selecting 18 players is going to be difficult,” he said.
With a bumper crowd expected — with a free ticket to the match inside each copy of today’s Free Press — Hogg hopes the crowd can play a big part and roar his side on to a memorable opening-day triumph.
“The success we had last year generated a bit of interest and we were getting some fantastic crowds,” said the former Stowmarket coach. “It would be nice to pick up from where we left off and the town can get behind us to give us that extra lift we need.”
n Can’t make the match? Live coverage from reporter Sam Murley online at www.buryfreepress.co.uk/sport/live-sport