Bury Town’s new captain duo believe a fresh hunger in the squad can drive the Blues up the league table — with the play-offs not beyond them.
Seb Dunbar and Marcus Garnham have revealed there is plenty of optimism in a tight-knit dressing room as the Blues start afresh under the guidance of new manager Ben Chenery.
Former Ipswich Town youth team player Dunbar is relishing the challenge of stepping up to lead Bury on the field as team captain in his second season, while long-serving goalkeeper Garnham will be club captain.
Dunbar said: “I was very happy when I had a meeting with Ben (Chenery, manager) and Russell (Ward, chairman) and they asked me if I would like to be the on-field captain.
“Straight away I said I am up for it and happy to take on the role.
“Last season I stepped in as captain for a few games when Tom Bullard was injured and it is massive for my development to take it on full-time.
“On the pitch I feel I come alive and it is something I wanted to do.
“Me and Marcus get on very well and I thought it was a brilliant idea having me as on-field captain and him as club captain.
“He is older than me and a bit more experienced off-the-pitch and I think he will work well in that role.”
Despite having a younger squad this year, the 22-year-old believes a shot at the top five should be what they are aiming for ahead of the season opener at Hendon on Saturday (3pm).
“We have a young team but with a young team comes a lot of energy and everyone gets on well,” he said.
“The team spirit is high and we’re looking forward to the season.
“Hopefully we can push on for the play-offs.
“We always aim high and I do not think the play-offs are out of our reach.
“The problems off-the-pitch contributed to some of the players leaving and hopefully that will not happen again this season as things seem to be more stable now.
“If the players are focused it is more than achievable.”
Garnham, 26, who arrived at club when he was 19, is determined to keep spirits high in the dressing room in his new role, and while conceding the squad still needs a few additions, is confident they can eclipse last season’s 10th-place finish.
“This is a new year and fresh start with new young players coming in who want to prove themselves and there is a new fire burning to achieve something,” he said.
“I think we will be fine, higher than last year without a shadow of a doubt.”
“We could be up there if we get a run going but I would like to see us in the top half of the table.”
Garnham also feels the new defensive partnership of Nathan Clarke and Connor Hall can provide a solid base for the Blues.
“Clarkey has been doing fantastic in pre-season and I really hope he can keep that confidence and step up,” he said.
“With Connor, we have played with him before and he has come back and hit the ground running and is playing with a smile on his face.”
The shot stopper has been impressed with new manager Chenerey’s start to his first role as a number one.
“He has done well so far getting everyone to play the way he wants to play,” he said.
“We are playing football like Bury did a few years ago, but as well as keeping the ball we are also attacking as well.”
n Bury completed their pre-season programme in style with a 2-1 win over Sky Bet League Two newboys Cambridge United at Ram Meadow on Monday night.
After Liam Wales gave the hosts the lead after seven minutes, they headed into the break level after an equaliser came after 39 minutes.
But the west Suffolk side scored a winner with the last move of the match when Phil Weavers picked up the ball and tried his luck from outside the box, his shot going in over the goalkeeper’s head.
n Bury Town Ladies kicked off their pre-season campaign with a solid 1-1 draw away to a very good Southendian Ladies side.
Lisa Pratt, Helen Cryer, Katie Shorter, Laura Brown and Lyndsie Duemells all made their debuts for Bury while Emma Boreham captained the side.
Bury were down 1-0 after six minutes but grew in to the game and got level mid-way through the second half with Amekia Deuchars’ long-range effort.
n Bury Town Football Club SuperDraw Week 10: £1,000 K S Sidhu, £150 N Brittain, £100 F Jones, £75 M Timmins, £50 D A Boyling, £50 Beveridge, £25 Maciejewski, £25 C Hill, £25 A Russell, £25 M Donnelly. Birth date drawn: 26/05/30 — no winners. Next week’s prize £300.