Ben Chenery has been a busy man this summer in a bid to prevent Bury Town’s play-off charge from fizzling out in the same manner it did last season.
Chenery’s men were firmly in the promotion picture after the festive period, but a run of six straight defeats between January 7 and February 18 ended the club’s pursuit of a return to Step Three football.
And in a bid to prevent a repeat this time around, Chenery has bolstered his squad with eight new faces — including the return of Cemal Ramadan, Darren Mills and former Mildenhall Town right-back David Cooper.
With a larger pool of players to select from, Chenery is confident he will now be able to react before any rot sets in.
“We have had a smaller squad in recent years, but this summer we have added wisely,” he said.
“Last season we were looking really good, but once we got some injuries and the pitches got a bit sticky over the winter, we struggled.
“We wanted players to adapt to those type of situations and we have got those in.
“When you are on a bad run but cannot change the starting line-up too much, pressure builds on the players and some need to be taken out of the firing line.
“We have not been able to do that recently, but now we have more options.”
The upcoming campaign will be Bury’s third in a row at Bostik League Division One North level, having been relegated at the end of 2014/15.
After falling out of the hunt last year, Chenery is seeking a more sustained challenge — starting with Saturday’s home encounter against Romford (3pm).
“As always, our challenge is to improve year upon year,” added the former Cambridge United defender.
“When I took the job, the club was in a bad place financially and we ended up getting relegated.
“Since then, things have settled down. We have finished 13th and 11th, so now we want to close the gap on the play-offs even further.
“It is going to be tough because it looks a very strong league this year, but we are looking to break into that top five or six if possible.”
Experienced midfielder Ollie Fenn, who joined Bury on a permanent basis this summer following his release by Needham Market, is unavailable for Romford’s visit to Ram Meadow.
However, aside from that, Chenery has a full compliment of players to select from, with the boss hopeful goalkeeper Louis Tibbles will have signed a deal by kick-off.
Bury lost the corresponding fixture last season, when Nick Ingram’s goal was not enough to prevent the hosts from slipping to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of their visitors from over the Essex border.