It is that time in the season when owners, fans and indeed managers start to take stock of how they have started the new campaign. Peter Taylor gives you his take on the start the Shakers have made in League One…
Who has been your best player thus far?
For me, it’s a close-run thing between Jermaine Beckford and the now-injured Joe Murphy. The latter is probably the only senior player who has escaped criticism thus far; despite the number of goals conceded in the league, there is not a single one where I think he could’ve done something better to prevent it happening, which is both telling in terms of his individual ability and the number of occasions he has been exposed by the ever-changing backline.
As for Beckford, a select group of fans have intimated that he’s lazy but I disagree entirely. At times, he has cut an isolated, frustrated figure… but when given the opportunity, he has rarely disappointed (penalties aside!). With Michael Smith now alongside him, a portion of the donkey work is now off his shoulders and he is getting into better positions as a result. He has lost none of his pace or skill on the ball and he remains a big aerial threat to whatever opposition Bury are up against.
Who has been your most surprising player?
I don’t think there are any, at least in a positive sense. The likes of Tsun Dai and Callum Styles have been reduced from prominence to the EFL Trophy, which is a sad indictment of the way things are proceeding under Lee Clark. Some more senior, undoubtedly talented players have just not turned it on yet for whatever reason; Harry Bunn has struggled to make a mark, Nicky Ajose has completely fallen off the radar after an admittedly disappointing start to his third loan spell at the club and Rohan Ince hasn’t lived up to his debut at Rochdale where he looked like he could be the player to properly shield the defence at long last, especially in the absence of Stephen Dawson through injury.
How have you done against your expectation?
My expectations at this point in time haven’t been met… and they were conservative! I estimated that 10 points from the first 10 matches would be a decent return for a squad with all the talent in the world but one that would take a long time to gel because of the ridiculously high turnover in personnel. It is now 9 points from 11 and given the outlay in the close summer and the club’s own raising of fans’ expectations, it is nowhere near good enough. Off-the-pitch concerns regarding Lee Clark’s man-management have underscored a season that has just not got going yet and it is only offered up one result and performance of real note. The manager is culpable.