Kevin Blackwell praises ‘dogged’ Bury as Efe Sodje turns from hero to villain in FA Cup win over Exeter City

By Suraj Radia

Bury manager Kevin Blackwell admitted he was just pleased to be in the hat for the next round of the FA Cup after a ‘dogged’ win over Exeter City.

Efe Sodje scored a first-half header before getting picking up a second yellow card with 30 minutes left but the Shakers held on for victory.

Blackwell felt his side were hindered by the dismissal but believed their ability to hold on for victory proved their progression in recent weeks.

You can play like Barcelona but go out of the Cup,” he said.

“We certainly didn’t play like Barcelona but we’re in the hat for the next round.

“It was a struggle but when you go down to 10 men it doesn’t help, sometimes you’ve got to be dogged and grind out results.

“We’ve talked about the characteristics of how to get out of trouble. We’re near the bottom of the league, we’ve got to work our way up and we saw a lot of tenacity from 10 players who weren’t going to give in.

“A couple of weeks back we might have lost that game but we’ve shown we can adapt and change. That’s one defeat in five now so it’s a good sign.”

Blackwell, who was appointed in September, was less pleased about Sodje’s sending off and revealed the veteran defender had a fight to get back into the team.

Blackwell said: “The referee said to us before the game that he was going to try and keep the sending offs and bookings to a minimum and then the first tackle, a yellow card comes out.

“I told the players we need to create some competition for places so Sodje has to work his way back into the side now.”

Blackwell could not hide his desire to get through and earn a big-money tie at a Premier League club.

“To get Liverpool and Manchester United here, we have to get through this round and the next so please God we can do that,” he said.

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