RICHARD Wilkins is fighting his own fitness battle in time to mastermind an important week for Bury Town.
The Ram Meadow chief was struck down by flu on Tuesday and it is believed to be touch and go whether he will be fit to take charge of the Blues’ must-win Ryman League Premier Division home fixture against Folkestone Invicta tomorrow (3pm).
Assistant manager Richard Skelly and director of football Trevor Collins are poised to step into the breach – as the Blues aim to cut the 10-point gap between them and league-leaders Sutton United.
Another bumper crowd is expected to cram into the ground when Bury again go toe-to-toe with Lowestoft Town in a mouth-watering Suffolk Premier Cup semi-final tie on Tuesday (7.45pm).
“The next two games are crucial for different reasons,” said Collins. “The Folkestone game is important as we look to try and close the gap – while cementing our own place inside the play-off places.”
The Blues’ home fixture against Margate fell victim to the wet weather on Saturday, but that has proved a blessing in disguise on the injury front. James Scowcroft, Chris Henderson, Russell Short, Sam Reed and Kieran Leabon are all now expected to feature.
“Saturday wasn’t totally wasted,” said Collins.
“The players endured a two-hour training session and now they are raring to go.”
Meanwhile, a final appearance at Portman Road beckons for the cup victors on Tuesday.
The two teams have won 19 Suffolk Premier Cups between them – with Bury Town looking for their 10th and first since 1996.
The Trawler Boys held Bury to an absorbing 0-0 league stalemate at Ram Meadow last month in what proved to be a heated ecounter watched by a crowd of 931.
“Tuesday gives us a fantastic opportunity to reach a cup final and it will be a great evening for everybody connected with the club,” said Collins.
“It will also see another good crowd at Ram Meadow and I urge our supporters to get behind the players as we push for another successful climax to the season.”