By Steven Oldham, Sports Correspondent
Bury begin the new League One season under caretaker manager Peter Shirtliff following the surprise departure of Richie Barker to Crawley Town.
Barker, under whom the club won promotion in the 2010/11 season from League Two, led the club to a more than respectable 14th place in his only full season in charge.
Caretaker boss Shirtliff has already thrown his name into the mix for the full time job but any aspirations he has will surely depend on early results.
The Shakers start their campaign at home to Brentford, and there will be plenty of new faces making their league bows for Bury, and some familiar ones returning.
Experienced defender Adam Lockwood arrives after his release from Doncaster Rovers after six years with the Yorkshire club.
Winger Craig Jones has joined from Welsh side The New Saints FC for an undisclosed amount, whilst fellow wide man Marcus Marshall, formerly of Rotherham United, has signed a one year deal.
Goalkeeper Trevor Carson has completed a full move to the club from Sunderland, with his arrival sparking Cameron Belford’s loan move to Southend United.
Also making a permanent move to Gigg Lane is Lateef Elford-Alliyu. The 20-year-old striker initially joined on loan from West Brom last season but signs on fully for Bury after being released by The Baggies.
Mark Cullen of Hull City rejoins the club on loan, having made four appearances in a similar move last term, whilst unsettled midfielder Shaun Harrad has joined Cheltenham Town on a season-long loan deal.
Brentford will provide stern opposition for Shirtliff’s side having surprised many onlookers with a top ten finish last season under former Manchester City legend Uwe Rosler.
Bury’s Capital One Cup hopes lasted for just one game, having been knocked out by Championship side Middlesbrough 2-1, with Mark Hughes scoring a second half consolation. Veteran defender Efe Sodje received his marching orders in injury time for a foul on Luke Williams.
The bookmakers are not backing Bury to succeed this season, and the uncertainty surrounding the manager’s position is not helping. Along with Walsall, Portsmouth and Yeovil they are among the favourites for relegation.
They will need their captain Steven Schumacher to be at his inspirational best and for the new side to gel quickly if they are to avoid being dragged into a relegation dogfight early on.
FIRST FIVE GAMES:
August 18 – Brentford (h)
August 21 – Doncaster Rovers (a)
August 25 – Coventry City (a)
September 1 – Notts County (h)
September 8 – Preston North End (h)
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