Author Archives: Aaron Benson

Ryan Lowe’s Two Huge Games in a Crunch Four Days for Bury

Ryan Lowe has taken to management this season like a duck to water but, will need to see steer his side over two giant hurdles. When his Bury side takes on local rivals, Oldham Athletic and then Portsmouth in The Checkatrade semi-final only a few days later.

Although Bury will be underdogs in next Tuesday’s crunch semi-final.  Opponents Portsmouth will come up against an attacking outfit that has outclassed virtually all of their League Two rivals, since the start of the season.

Having scored 85 goals in all competitions this season, the place for football entertainment has been no other than Gigg Lane. Lowe having played as a striker himself has made it no secret in wanting to promote an all-out attack style of play, and his tactics have been merited with Bury’s current league position.

A home win on Saturday could see the Shakers leapfrog Lincoln to the summit of League Two, something which looked unlikely after January’s end to end 3-3 draw. Having had his style of football backed by non-other than Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, this way of playing had every chance of proving to be successful.

And The German has been proved correct so far with the way that Bury have played this season, now in second place in League Two and four points clear of MK Dons who occupy the leading playoff spot (4th place).

Having also picked the brains of Brendan Rodgers and Rafa Benitez, lifelong reds fan Lowe has already had a vocal taste of what a successful life of a manager is like. Benitez having won the 2005 Champions League with Liverpool and, Rodgers dominating Scottish football to the point he’s won the ‘double treble’ in Scotland since moving North of the border in 2016.

Now Lowe has the chance to secure his own success as a manager. A win against either, or both Oldham and Portsmouth – would take his side closer to putting a trophy back in the Bury trophy cabinet, league or domestic cup.

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Salford Defeat Leaves Alexander With Much to Ponder

At Salford City’s Peninsula stadium Inspirational quotes are never far from view. So much so on the steps leading into and out the stadium’s entrance, a final message for fans to take solace off on their Moor Lane exit is scripted on the concrete front.

It reads ‘There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs’.

For this particular quote seems highly appropriate at present. Saturday’s 3-1 loss at home to relegation-threatened Dover was a rather bitter pill to swallow for the home support.

Because by the time Dover’s Jai Reason had put the final nail in a very sorry Salford coffin, a large majority of Ammies fan had seen enough and ploughed towards the exits. All this after Dennis Politic had started what looked to be a rather promising afternoon with a goal which mirrored David Beckham’s against Wimbledon in 1996. So appropriate  The ex-Manchester United man was in the stands in his first match since becoming co-Chairman and the memories of that sunny day would surely have come flooding back.

Yet Becks would have watched what happened after and wondered where the next three points may come from. For while he and the rest of the ‘Class of 92’ squad will be a key part to Salford for their future success, Graham Alexander looked a man in need of a quick turn around in form to prove he’s the right man to continue Salford’s speedy climb up the English Football ladder.

After Alexander’s predecessors Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley guided Salford to three promotions in four seasons, it has left Alexander with big shoes to fill. After swapping League One football for non-league last summer, the Salford manager was left perplexed on the touchline as his second-half substitute tweaks failed to make the required impact as his side stumbled to their third straight defeat.

Now without a win since the mid-January, this hasn’t been a Happy New Year at The Peninsula Stadium. Yet only a year into the job, Alexander only looks to be starting what appears to be an ongoing ‘project’ at Salford, something Beckham is obviously dying to get his teeth stuck into.

Not that he would have been impressed with his new side against Dover, who climbed out of the relegation places in a well fought out display. Salford who were lucky the visitors didn’t increase their advantage after wasting two golden chances at the death, but due to other results going their way, they remain in 5th place and most importantly still in the driving seat for a playoff position.

Although things of recent weeks look grim reading, things could be a lot worse. Take Barnet and Chesterfield for example who were only relegated last season, but show more signs of going down a league rung than up one. Yet in comparison with the teams in and around them, their New Year slump couldn’t have occurred at a worst time. At seven points behind leaders Solihull Moors, their chances of becoming champions decrease every game.

Right now Salford are digging deeper into a worrying hole, but the need for realism right now is greater than ever. The doubting fans taking a look at the message on the ousted stairway should do the trick just fine.

Lowe’s Wise Moves In January Could Be Key To League One Football Next Season

The unusual yet charming bond between Bury and Rangers struck again on deadline day, as Bury saw off ‘two Scottish Premiership clubs’ to sign midfielder Jordan Rossiter on loan until the end of the season.

Deadline day just wouldn’t feel right without a new player coming through the door and Rossiter decided on a move South of the border to end this current season. Having watched the pulsating 3-3 draw with Lincoln City last Saturday, the Rangers man felt he just couldn’t say no at the possibility of a loan move to Bury.

Rossiter grew up and spent his early playing days in the Liverpool academy. The return to the North West will therefore bring Bury’s newest addition closer to home. Rossiter was no slouch in the Anfield set-up and, has played under Brendan Rodgers whilst he was still part of the club before Jurgen Klopp joined in 2015.

Rossiter’s early career has been plagued with injury mostly but will plan to become a permanent fixture on the pitch for Bury rather than the treatment room. Another midfield option seemed rather necessary this window as Bury head onto the home straight.

The 21-year-old will look to become a permanent fixture in the side but will need to shake off a ‘sick note’ tag, which looks to be the only question mark against this signing. Its been frustrating at times for Rossiter having only made 16 appearances for Rangers since his arrival in 2016.

What certainly isn’t frustrating, however, is Bury’s growing force in the transfer market as Ryan Lowe secured his second Rangers signing of the season. The initial addition was Jamie Barjonas who is now back in Scotland following on from his loan stay at Bury.

Rossiter isn’t the only January arrival to the side however. Scott Wharton has also joined the side from Blackburn Rovers this season, he too is on-loan until the season is out and the same age as Rossiter.

Wharton is back in League Two as quickly as he left it,  having started his season at leaders Lincoln making 16 appearances. Lowe’s willingness to add depth to the squad seems appropriate, especially seen as Bury also have The Checkatrade Trophy to fight for between now and May alongside their league form which, all being well, could lead to promotion.

It’s Clear Bury AND Lincoln Will Need to Strengthen Next Season to Thrive in League One

The fixture of Bury vs Lincoln City is likely to be given a second helping in the 2019/20 season of football. The most likely outcome is the game will take place in League One rather than League Two.

For having seen two of three teams in the automatic playoff places pit against each other only two days ago, to talk about one is to talk about the other almost.

Both with young managers who encourage open, expansive football, it was little wonder we were treated to such a spectacle. A total of 22 shots on goal at either end which saw six goals scored, it was no surprise that either team played a type of football which merited better than the soggy playing surface and worse for wear conditions.

Yet despite an end to end attacking fixture, it will leave both Ryan Lowe and Danny Cowley believing that more is needed to do, in order to fix a set of teams that are capable of leaving the back door open at times.

Lincoln only managed three shots on target in the game and had were dominated in possession by The Shakers, their third goal was ever so slightly dodgy however. In defence of the Shakers back line, Callum McFadzean was adjudged to have brought down Imps player Harry Anderson in the box where Lincoln striker John Akinde thought he’d scored the winner.

Soft penalty? Yes. It defiantly needed a fair few looks on the replay to give a clear cut decision.  Needn’t so the Shakers found themeless trailing again and their goals against tally had racked up to 36 by seven thirty pm. Second place Mansfield have let in 14 fewer.

The same could be said at the other end of course. Lincoln are by no means rock solid at the back, but still have the best goal difference in the league. Now 5 clear of Mansfield with a game in hand over Bury, they look are most likely uncatchable. But Bury can draw many positives as several times they managed to split the Lincoln defence.

Their Boss Cowley stated post-match that his side are better ‘with and without the ball’ yet ‘Bury are very good with but not as good without it’. A note to his colleague on the positives and negatives of this style, one of the reasons they are probably on the same page in terms of style and management.

Lowe’s encouragement of attacking football in the EFL should always be applauded and would have been seconded by the neutral. The only problem with this game was Millwall’s giant-killing over Everton was played at exactly the same time and may have stolen a few viewers more as part of the terrestrial TV.

However good the open football was, it took a good old set piece for the home side to steal a point through centre back Will Aimson. Part of a back three by Lowe which contains two wing backs which play virtually as wingers, it’s no surprise to see them a tad exposed at times. Yet Aimson deserved his goal after an impressive display.

But there is no doubt Lowe will work to solve this problem of course. He can take Bury to League One playing this current way as the last 30 games suggest. But a bit of defensive work this summer may not go amiss.

A Must Win For Bury Over Lincoln to Stay in The Title Race

Back in August the majority of Bury fans would have been pleased to see their side make the play-off places this season. The fact that the end of January is upon us and the Shakers are second in League Two and into the Checkatrade semi-finals, the season so far has been above and beyond what any Gigg Lane regular would have believed possible.

To end the season as League Two champions would be a bonus, rather than a necessity for the club. Just to bounce straight back up to League One, which of course is still not a guarantee, will be so very valuable as the side look to consolidate themselves as a stable League One side over the next few years.

After battling for the play-off places for the majority of the season, suddenly Ryan Lowe’s side have found themselves in an unlikely position to what many, including Lowe himself, could have imagined.

Now however things are different. A win for Bury over Lincoln in their Sky live clash on Saturday will have them only three points off The Imps. Impressive you think? Most definitely, especially since Bury have had a winter takeover in a new chairman which saw Steve Dale take over the ranks from Stewart Day. The club put their faith in Lowe, who leading into the season had very little managerial experience.

The League Two table is tight though and despite Bury’s unbeaten run in 2019, they can’t afford a defeat anytime soon. To start with one against rivals Lincoln wouldn’t be ideal. Only six points keep apart second place Bury and seventh-placed Colchester, while a matter of four points keeps them above Carlisle in fourth. A few winless games would be fatal, yet this side managed by Lowe doesn’t seem to do this very often anymore. 77 goals have been scored in all competitions this season by the likes of Maynard, O’Shea and co. The only team ahead of them on that front is near geographical neighbours in Manchester City.

A Lincoln win tomorrow will see the Shakers fall nine points behind the Table toppers, and they have a game in hand as well over Bury in the league. Most likely impossible to chase down. But to dismiss Bury this season would be careless. Just ask the other 22 teams below them in the league.

Lowe Shows No Signs of Leaving Bury as They Head to Forest Green Rovers

It’s probably hard to find a more popular manager with the fans than Ryan Lowe at Bury. It seems impossible to not like a successful club player who shows potential to be all the same as a manager after making the step up, many ex-players find hard when stepping behind the white line. With Bury’s current league position under Lowe and the quality of football he’s brought to Gigg Lane, he is most definitely one of football’s in-form managers at present.

Lowe will no doubt have the full club backing at Bury, which it seems strange that he could leave the club. After confirming in yesterday’s press conference that rumours of a move to Kenilworth Road were simply ‘speculation’ and ‘nothing else’, it would be hard to find a football-related argument which suggests Lowe would leave, what looks like an exciting project under New Ownership.

The links to the League One club are a testament to the early success Lowe has enjoyed in a short amount of time. The style of football played by Bury has drawn parallel with that of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool over the past few weeks. Not least after his sides stunning comeback against MK Dons last Saturday which saw Bury come back from 3-1 down to win 4-3. A scoreline typical of the early days Klopp had at Anfield, which, as we can see at present, has laid the foundations for a tilt at the Premier League title.

However, Lowe will only have his eye one title at present and that’s the fight for automatic promotion from League Two. Tomorrow’s game against Forest Green will be no easy three points, however, as the Shakers face a team who haven’t lost since November.

But if there’s any team that can change that record then it is indeed Bury. Backed by the news that ‘The Irish Messi’ Jay O’Shea has signed a new one year contract, and the feeling Danny Mayor looks to be staying put before the January transfer window ends, all this should do no harm to the current dressing room mood.

After a nervy week all seems well…and breathe people.

Ramsbottom Eye Up Potential Cupset as Part of an Incredible FA Trophy Run

If ever a conversation crops up when discussing football clubs in and around the Greater Manchester area, the automatic assumption is ‘so your talking about Manchester United and City then aren’t you’.

By five o’clock tomorrow night, people could well be discussing another ‘United’. The biggest hint in deciding which club I’m talking about is this:  They’re located on The Lancashire/Greater Manchester border and play their home matches by The River Irwell.

On Saturday Evo-Stik West division side Ramsbottom United will play their biggest cup game in their history against Weymouth in The FA Trophy second round. Having never got this far in this Non-League competition, Rammy are certainly not in it to make up the numbers.

Having already played eight games which have seen them have to contend with a few replays along the way, while at the same time juggling a promotion battle in their own domestic league, it’s been a busy yet exciting time for those connected with the club.

Officials from Ramsbottom have been promoting the tie all week in preparation for the game on local Radio. Club manager Chris Willcock was in good spirits ahead of Weymouth visit to The Harry Williams Riverside Stadium.

‘Our League form has been going well alongside this game and we can’t wait for Saturday to come We try to emphasise on winning every game. Full credit to the players as they’ve always done the job on the second occasions we’ve played having not won at the first attempt’.

‘The players have to juggle so many things in their lives in which involves work commitments and family lives. The way Weymouth have been operating is completely different to ours over the past 10 years. But at present, we are very much on the up and we don’t want this run to end’.

Having seen season-high attendances over the Christmas period in a thrilling 2-1 victory over Radcliffe on Boxing Day, Ramsbottom fans are clearly enjoying the football that has been played since Willcock took over in October.

Gate numbers are crucial in Non-League and recent attendances can only be good financially for the club. Club secretary Tony Cunningham plays a major part in running the club alongside Chairman Harry Williams and stated that Rammy’s game against Weymouth is certainly their biggest ever cup fixture, and one of the most important at any point since the club was formed in 1966.

The attendances obviously crucial for a Non-League Club but there are not the only thing on the clubs mind at present. The fact that due the club are only a handful of games off a Wembley final in The FA Trophy says something for their efforts in the competition.

Cunningham was thrilled for the clubs current progress. ‘For a club like Rammy to be in the last 32 is tremendous, we’re one of the minnows in the competition that’s for sure. Saturday will be our ninth game in the competition which is almost a quarter of a season’. With Wembley, do Rammy have a chance of making it? ‘There is a chance but of course, but we know it’s a very hard ask’.

Ramsbottom take on a Weymouth side going great guns in their own league, currently lying second in the Evo-Stik Premier South division. But with the beauty of cup football, just anything can happen, as results in all knockout competitions show.

‘Look at some of the FA Cup games last weekend’ said Cunningham. ‘Barnet beating Sheffield United and Newport beating Leicester, they are complete one-offs. Hopefully, if we can get some good support for our lads tomorrow, then you just never know’.

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