Bury Town look to avoid FA Cup slip-up at Lakenheath as Ben Chenery says unexpected cup start is 'not ideal'
Bury Town manager Ben Chenery admits their preparation for tomorrow’s Emirates FA Cup season opener at lower-league Lakenheath (3pm) has not been ideal but feels they will not be caught out by under-estimating their hosts.
It came as something as a bombshell when, with their pre-season fixtures planned around the Isthmian League kicking off next weekend, they were handed an extra preliminary round tie for the first time in 18 years – and only the third time in the club’s long history.
The draw, revealed on July 8, has led to tonight’s pre-season friendly with Colchester United being scrapped but the Blues manager had carefully planned that fixture to avoid a key absence he will now encounter tomorrow.
Captain Ollie Fenn had chosen tomorrow to get married ahead of when he believed their first match would be while Ryan Jolland, who has been recovering from hip surgery this summer with an August 13 return target, is away.
Defender Joe Hood is also suspended while midfielder Ryan Horne’s recovery from a thigh problem is not set to see him be risked tomorrow.
“They are four big players that you would want in your starting 11,” said Chenery.
“If I’m being honest our planning was obviously all to do with the start date being next weekend. But we got dealt a very late hand by the FA, notifying clubs they may be playing in an earlier round (as a result of the 21/22 pyramid restructure) which isn’t ideal but it is what it is and we’ll have to make sure we’re ready.”
However, he is set to have all nine of his new signings available - the latest having been announced on Thursday - and is pleased with how they have bedded in. The eighth, central midfielder Charley Barker (St Neots Town), scoring alongside Cemal Ramadan in last Saturday’s 3-2 home loss to Cambridge City.
“I’ve been really pleased,” he said.
“It has been really positive because we wanted to reset with new personalities and new characters.
“I’m certainly a strong believer that it will take a bit of time before we see the best of them because they have come from different football clubs and we have a different way of how we want to play and approach it.
“But I’m happy with the squad and the personnel we have brought in in what has been a really hard season for recruitment.”
Tomorrow’s hosts memorably made it to the last 32 of the FA Vase last season on what was their first foray into the FA Cup following promotion from Step six.
“It will be a really tough game,” said Chenery. “Lakenheath are always tough opposition full of commitment and with it being an away game it will be a tough place for us to go.
“It is only one division difference so we are not talking about great gulf.
“It’s a cup game that will be a tense affair and the opening game of the season for us, so there will be a rough edges and people feeling their way a little bit.
“Look, we are looking forward to it but are under no illusions how tough it will be.”
Lakenheath started their Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division season last weekend with a 3-2 loss at Whitton United.
Lewis Gillings, Louie Bloom and Kieran Turner all found the back of the net to put the hosts 3-0 up and while Shaun Avis and Kaine Manels pulled goals back for Heath, Whitton held out for the victory.
Former Bury player Craig Nurse was in charge of that game with manager Ben Cowling and assistant Tom Walker also set to still be away for tomorrow’s encounter.
“It’s an opportunity for us to put things right from Saturday which was a very poor result and performance, and maybe playing Bury in their first competitive game will help us,” said Nurse.
Luke Young is back available but Lee Hammond is away while recently-signed former Bury player Emmanuel Machaya is said to be short of fitness following a couple of muscular niggles during pre-season.