RICHARD Skelly admitted Bury Town’s defeat to Lowestoft Town was ‘soul destroying’, but has backed the Blues to come through a potential play-off semi-final with their Suffolk rivals.
A number of key absentees cost Bury in their Ryman League Premier Division play-off clash with the Trawlerboys last year and red cards for skipper Tom Bullard and winger Danny Cunningham in Easter Monday’s league fixture against the same opponents means the pair would both miss the first match of the play-offs.
Bury must first secure their place in the top five and can keep their challenge on track when they travel to face relegated Aveley tomorrow (3pm).
“Despite their position in the league, it will still be tough,” said assistant manager Skelly. “The pitch isn’t particularly great and we will have to go down there and do a job.
“We’ll have a good rest, train well and crack on – I think one or two more wins will get us in the play-offs.”
Looking ahead to a potential play-off semi-final without Bullard or Cunningham, Skelly added: “It would be much the same as last year when we had several players out.
“We have got a better squad than last year – which is no disrespect to those involved, but it was a lot to ask for one or two youngsters to come in.
“Hopefully we will learn from last year and go one better.”
Bury could have moved a giant stride towards securing their play-off place with victory on Easter Monday, but two dismissals for the Blues and Lubomir Guentchev’s 93rd-minute winner meant Lowestoft took all three points from Ram Meadow.
Skelly had no complaints with Bullard’s red card and subsequent penalty, and also admitted they could have conceded another when Roscoe Hipperson felled Nathan Stone in the second half.
However, he was not happy with the 84th-minute dismissal of Danny Cunningham that reduced Bury to nine men.
“It was soul destroying, but the lads can take a lot of heart from the game,” said Skelly. “Hopefully we will get our place in the play-offs.
“I think they can take a lot of team morale from that game with the way they fought for each other and dug in.”
Speaking about Cunningham’s red card, Skelly said: “I don’t think it’s a sending off, but there you go.”
He also brushed off a post-match argument between Cunningham and goalkeeper Marcus Garnham in front of the matchday mascots.
“Emotions were quite high because they kept running and worked so hard for each other,” added Skelly. “I think they are very frustrated with the result, but with nine men it was always going to be tough.”