CALLUM Kearns is determined to make up for lost time after returning to pre-season training with Bury Town.
The former Southend United trainee missed more than a year of action because of a serious knee injury, but played a minor part at the end of last season, making eight starts and nine substitute appearances, including playing a part in the finals of the Alan Boon Ryman League Cup and Suffolk Premier Cup.
But with a full pre-season and hopefully injury-free year in front of him, Kearns is planning on making himself a regular fixture at the heart of the Blues’ midfield.
“A few of the players said it was like having a new signing when I arrived at training on Monday,” said the 23-year-old. “I’ve kept myself fit and my aim now is to be one of the fittest in the squad and be regularly in the starting line-up.
“I’ve been pretty non-existent on a football pitch for the past 18 months so there is no point me coming back with any negative thoughts – I hope to be the first name on the team sheet.”
While Kearns is like a new signing, the lack of actual new bodies at Ram Meadow so far has made the management team reassess the system they play.
“With no real wingers in the building at the moment, it is making us look at our options,” said Bury manager Richard Wilkins. “If we have to tinker with the system because we have no real widemen then that’s what we will do.”
Meanwhile, Bury’s chances of keeping Sam Reed appear to have given a boost after the striker — who is keeping his options open as he prepares to trial for another club at a higher level — was involved in the Blues’ first pre-season training session of the summer.
Director of football Trevor Collins confirmed he had a positive discussion with Reed, while Wilkins said a deadline, believed to be within the next fortnight, had been set with the popular frontman.
“Sam only wants to play higher – he won’t leave Bury for a club at our level and I admire him for that,” said the Blues’ boss. “It’s only fair to give him time and he’s happy with what we said.”
Back in training for the first time since his hernia operation was Sam’s brother Lee — already confirmed as a Bury player for next season — but the midfielder is likely to miss the first few friendlies as he recovers, despite being able to join in with fitness training.
Wilkins also praised the impact of new assistant manager James Scowcroft since the Stanton-based former Ipswich Town striker took up the role last month.
“He’s taken to it really well and enjoys it,” said Wilkins. “He has got the respect of the players and has some different ideas, which is nice for people to put their own spin on things.
“However, we all still sing off the same hymn sheet and all want to play football the right way.”