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Bury Town ready for Suffolk derby against fellow Bostik League North Division play-off hunters AFC Sudbury

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Bury Town manager Ben Chenery has conceded it is impossible to ignore the significance of Tuesday’s New Year’s Day home derby with AFC Sudbury (1pm).

With fifth-placed Heybridge Swifts having to settle for a 1-1 draw at home to Maldon & Tiptree on Boxing Day and both Bury (6th) and AFC (7th) picking up maximum points, the gap to the Bostik League North Division play-offs has closed over the festive period.

Indeed, Chenery’s Blues head into the Denny Bros Stadium clash six points adrift of the Swifts while visiting Sudbury are just a place and a point further back with a game in hand.

Ben Chenery
Ben Chenery

And with Heybridge next travelling to third-placed Coggeshall Town – themselves only one point better off than the Swifts – the winner of the all-Suffolk encounter has the opportunity to make up even more ground on the division’s top five.

“You will do really well to break into the top five with the teams that are in there. The resources are good and they are good footballing teams,” said Chenery.

“There is always that added spice when it comes to a derby with Sudbury, more so now that we are both in good form and both on the edge of the play-offs.

“The three points are very big for both sides. It will probably have a bit of a cup tie feel about it – plenty of intensity and no quarters given.

“We understand the importance of the Sudbury game and how good a side they are.”

Bury will almost certainly face a different challenge against the Yellows to the one that Soham Town Rangers provided on Boxing Day.

It was a tough pitch for Chenery’s men to get their passing game going, while Soham were keen to prevent them from getting any momentum going.

As it was the visitors still managed to win 3-0 at Julius Martin Lane, but Chenery is well aware that Sudbury will pose alternative questions.

“Every game has a new set of problems and if you can manage those problems you become a good team,” he added.

“There was a set of problems today (against Soham) – the physicality which meant we had to keep our discipline and not allow them to get tight to us.

“Sudbury will give us a different set of problems in terms of dealing with their intensity on the ball and how they move it around.”

Chenery has a fully fit squad to select from for the game, with defender Jake Kerins set to return from a calf injury.