Bury manager David Flitcroft has stressed the need for his team to play free-flowing football out of their comfort zone ahead of their clash against Exeter City FC on Saturday.
The ex-Barnsley manager faces a potentially tricky challenge against the Grecians, who despite being 19th in League Two are just three points behind the Shakers on 47 points.
However Bury go into the game full of confidence after back-to-back wins at second-bottom Northampton Town on Saturday and at home to Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night, which catapulted Flitcroft’s side into the top half of the table for the first time since last August.
“The players can now play without anxiety, without fear and enjoy it,” the former Rochdale assistant manager told the Bury FC Youtube Channel.
“There has been a lot of pressure to play a certain way but we have had to win ugly and that’s what we have done since the Torquay game.
“Since that defeat I have purposefully changed the style and we have dug in.
The Shakers have a 10-point cushion above the drop zone and the side are unbeaten in four matches since a defeat at bottom-club Torquay saw them briefly in the midst of the relegation scrap.
The Greater Manchester team will host at the JD stadium, currently sitting in 12th with only six games of the campaign left to play.
Their visitors have had a disappointing run of form in March, collecting just eight points from a possible 21 with just two wins, three losses, including last Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Accrington Stanley, and two draws.
Bury’s last encounter against Exeter ended in a 2-2 draw with goal’s from the Shakers’ Daniel Nardiello and Nathan Cameron and the Grecians’ David Wheeler and Tom Nichols.
While Flitcroft wants his squad to enjoy the final run of games in the league the 40-year-old he stressed that compliancy is not an option.
“I want my players to go out and express themselves now but I don’t do comfort zone. I can’t stand comfort. I don’t like the word comfort,” he said.
“I will make sure that this group of players maintain high standards – maintain the unbeaten home record that we have got and keep going away from home with a verve to bring back points.”
The Shakers squad had shown signs of waning during a run that has seen them play 12 matches in six weeks, but a double striker swoop last Thursday, on loan window deadline day, provided a timely boost.
Flitcroft brought in Hallam Hope, a 20-year-old Everton forward, who impressed immediately with a goal in each of this week’s games, while Flitcroft’s other signing, Barnsley front man Danny Rose, also 20, came off the bench to score on his debut at Northampton.
The loss of Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, who was recalled by parent club Tranmere after the loan window closed, does not seem to have fazed Flitcroft as he prepares to start planning for next season.
“It’s been a mad 14 weeks, there is no doubt about that but phase one was to consolidate and we have nearly achieved that.” the younger brother of the former Manchester City player Garry Flitcroft said.
“I might reflect in the summer about what a difficult job this has been. People may forget where we were at the start of my tenure, but I am proud of what this group of players has achieved.
“Now we will speak with the board and the chairman and really knuckle down and get some planning right for next season.”
Main image courtesy of Bury Football Club via YouTube, with thanks.