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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.


Bury v Oldham. The Latics extra home game.

Latics fans like a decent away outing, it’s in their blood. Some might say that they jump at the chance to get out of the town for a few hours, and that may be true but when the away trip is just down the road, it’s almost embarrassing to admit that you didn’t turn out.

As expected, the club have been given an extra allocation of tickets by Bury which makes sound financial sense given the Shakers apparently perilous financial position. Having 3354 Oldham fans in Gigg Lane might not do much for Bury’s hopes of having the home crowd lift their side, but at least they can pay a few bills when they count the takings after the game.

The fixture at Oldham didn’t capture the imagination of the Bury fans, for some reason with only 1262 making the trip back in December when a Chris O’Grady hat trick helped Latics to a 4-2 win. There’s a great deal of pride at Latics, especially this season in the numbers who turn out for away games. The 4000+ at Fulham earned respect from all quarters but it is local derbies that rally the troops. Rochdale, Blackburn and Bury have all been serenaded with “We’re taking over your town again” in the past, a popular ditty to the tune of “Love will tear us apart”.

Sadly there seems to be a concerted effort to keep Latics fans out of the pubs in Bury, which will only mean they’ll drink elsewhere and arrive en masse at about 2.55pm stretching the resources of the police and stewards no doubt. Having watched football for longer than I care to remember, I’m still of the opinion that if you treat people like animals they’ll behave that way and very few clubs and local police forces are keen to change that stance.

The game promises to be a classic, however, with Bury flying high in the top three and Paul Scholes getting his first taste of a local derby as the new Latics manager. Form goes out of the window for a fixture like this and although it might not compete for attention with City v United or Everton v Liverpool, it means a great deal to both sets of supporters.

Oldham may well be looking forward to playing on a different pitch, than the one at Boundary Park which cut up somewhat after 3 consecutive home games in seven days. Whatever the outcome, local derbies remain an important part of the enjoyment of watching football and, even if Bury do escape League Two this season, Latics fans and players alike will be keen to rekindle the fixture in the very near future.

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.

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.

Is Promotion On The Cards For Bury in 2019

Ryan Lowe has raised many eyebrows to those in the football world over Christmas, with his management choices in a variety of ways. Whether they have had the required impact can only be seen long term, yet Bury again struggled on the road this festive season.

In an interview with The Daily Mail, The Bury boss announced he would not be running a training session on Christmas Day, a choice not common in English football. Instead, choosing to monitor the players’ workouts using a GPS heart monitor and a 30-minute training workout.

A day later a whole host of changes at Mansfield were made as players including Callum McFadzean, Captain Neil Danns and Nicky Maynard were left on the bench as rare starts in the league were given to so-called ‘squad players’ in the side.

The reason for the changes were put to ‘squad rotation’ and ‘niggles and injuries’, still the eleven put out couldn’t record an away win and Bury are still left with a total of only three away wins in the league all season after 25 games.

At table propers Notts County Lowe rotated the squad again, but Bury were fortunate to  leave Meadow Lane with a point as County man Jon Stead missed a 12 yard spot kick for the home side skying the ball over the bar.

After just one point from a possible six, and one from nine counting Oldham who sacked Frankie Bunn less than fortnight after Bury were beaten 4-2 at Boundary Park. Now Bury have it all to do against Crewe on New Years Day, yet the Cheshire side know they’re in for a tough afternoon.

Gigg Lane has proved to be a fortress so far this season, no team since Carlisle in September have left North Manchester with a win. The Shakers will look to make it a happy new year as they say goodbye to 2018 which saw the club relegated from League One and a takeover in the boardroom with Steve Dale replacing Stewart Day as chairman in December.

Despite financial losses in 2018 off the pitch, Bury are in for a promotion race in the New Year, and with 10 points separating MK Dons in Second to Grimsby in 13th, League Two should be a league to watch very closely.

However as we head into The New Year, Bury will be a team you’d want to back down the bookies for promotion, the home form being their biggest calling card. Upcoming games against leaders Lincoln and MK Dons under the home lights should test their promotion metal.

Out with the old and into the new. Bury can finally look to a promising twelve months under Dale and Lowe, with many opportunities to be grasped in 2019. Compared to twelve months ago, this is something to cheer for.

The Time The Oldham Chairman Suggested the Unthinkable

There have been some flamboyant Chairmen in football over the years and there have been many who remain almost unknown to the club’s supporters, quietly remaining in the background until the day the manager needs a vote of confidence.

Ian Stott fell somewhere between the two and was on the board at Boundary Park for 27 years with 16 years as Chairman, enjoying a spell at the club which coincided with the most successful period in our history. His friendship with manager Joe Royle was often commented on and Joe, like his predecessor Jimmy Frizzell, spent 12 years as manager.

Joe departed for Everton in 1994 however and Oldham installed a revolving door at Boundary Park which saw the club go through seven managers in the next ten years. Stott must have realised that the days as part of the Premier league setup were not going to return and he was no doubt concerned about his ambitions to one day become Chairman of the FA.

Whether it was an attempt to get himself in the news to support his aspirations or a gaffe of monumental proportions, Stott announced in January 1999 that he had been in talks with Bury FC to couple the two clubs and what’s more they were preparing to speak with Rochdale about making it a threesome. This unholy alliance even had a name. Manchester North End.

The Bury Chairman and a spokesperson from Rochdale were quick to point out that the opposition to this from all sides was likely to be vociferous but Stott argued that the future of all three clubs was uncertain given meagre gates and struggling finances. A stadium built adjoining Boundary Park which would house the new club and apparently an amalgam of supporters who had set aside their past differences was the way forward.

Almost immediately, it was pointed out that all three clubs would lose evidence of their past history. Bury with their two FA Cup wins, Oldham’s Littlewoods Cup final and FA Cup semi final appearances and whatever Rochdale can claim fame to. Also, under the Football League rules the new club would have to take its place in the lowest division of the merged clubs, which in this case would have been the Third Division, where Rochdale played.

After the expected furore, Stott wisely stood down as Oldham Chairman and surprisingly ended up on the board at Rochdale some years later. His claim that none of the three clubs could hope to survive the modern age of football proved to be as absurd as Manchester North End. Nineteen years later, the three clubs may not have set the footballing world alight but at least they are still here.

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