Date: 12th October 2018 at 2:00pm
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Tomorrow afternoon sees Bury arrive at the Alexandra Stadium, on the back of 1 defeat in their last 7 league games, managed by former Alex striker Ryan Lowe. They have 4 ex-Alex players in their playing squad too with former loanee Chris Stokes, Chris Dagnall and Alex academy products Byron Moore and Nicky Maynard (whose first goal in last week’s game is well worth a look if you’ve not seen it).

So far this season they have 5 victories, 3 draw and 4 losses in the league as the Shakers sit in 11th place. They have beaten Yeovil Town, Morecambe, Grimsby Town, Swindon Town and Colchester United, they have drawn with Forest Green Rovers, Northampton Town and Mansfield Town (the last 2 being the previous 2 games) and have lost against MK Dons, Lincoln City, Crawley Town and Carlisle United.

In cup competitions, they lost 10-9 on penalties to Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup after the game finished 1-1 whilst they have only played the one game in the EFL Trophy, losing 2-1 away at Rochdale in a group that also contains Fleetwood Town and Leicester City’s Under-21 team.

Looking back in the archives, the two teams have met 52 times with Bury leading the head-to-head with 20 wins to 18 with 14 draws. Crewe’s biggest win came in a 3-0 victory at the Alexandra Stadium in September 2010 while Bury’s biggest win came at Gresty Road in October 1894 where they won 5-1. The last season that the clubs met was 3 seasons ago where both meetings ended in draws, a 3-3 near the start of the season at the Alexandra Stadium before a 0-0 at Gigg Lane in January 2016.

Who are the officials for the game?

The officials for this game see Graham Salisbury as the man in the middle where he is assisted by Barry Cropp and Chris Isherwood with Steven Rushton being the fourth official. During the last 5 seasons the following Crewe games have been refereed by Salisbury:

  • Crewe Alexandra 1-2 Port Vale (23rd November 2013) – Evans
  • Crewe Alexandra 1-3 Brentford (15th February 2014) – Aneke
  • Crewe Alexandra 0-0 Swindon Town (28th February 2015)
  • Crewe Alexandra 1-2 Luton Town (14th January 2017) – Lowe
  • Crewe Alexandra 2-2 Mansfield Town (5th August 2017) – Porter (2)
  • Crewe Alexandra 1-2 Luton Town (25th November 2017) – og
  • Swindon Town 4-3 Crewe Alexandra (27th January 2018) – Ainley (2), Wintle

I asked Bury supporter Peter Taylor, writer of the Bury Me In Exile blog, for his thoughts going into the game.

What do you think of Bury’s transfer activity over the summer?

For me personally, I thought the turnover was a little too high, even whilst acknowledging the relegation and Ryan Lowe getting the job on a permanent basis. The squad remains a little unbalanced in particular areas, not least of which is having eight designated strikers in the senior setup. I was particularly unimpressed initially with the signing of Byron Moore on a free transfer, especially once it transpired that Lowe’s preferred formation doesn’t actually have any wingers in it. However, he has been deployed as an auxiliary forward several times to superb effect.

What do you think the team will be for Saturday’s game?

Probably unchanged from the 2-2 draw with Mansfield Town last Saturday: Joe Murphy; Nicky Adams, Will Aimson, Adam Thompson, Chris Stokes, Callum McFadzean; Neil Danns, Jay O’Shea; Danny Mayor; Nicky Maynard, Chris Dagnall.

I think only Caolan Lavery is definitely ruled out of tomorrow’s match and no senior pros are on international duty, so the bench should be quite strong.

Who would you say is the one player that we should look for in the Shakers team?

Has to be Danny Mayor at the moment. Granted, he isn’t an unfamiliar face to Crewe fans from previous encounters in recent seasons, but he has rediscovered the form that made him League Two Player of the Season in 2014/2015. Ryan Wintle and James Jones will have their work cut out trying to keep track of his runs, particularly if he takes up a position in the left channel. He has three goals and two assists to his name thus far, but it’s his ability to commit opposition bodies to him that they need to be particularly vigilant of.

As both teams have managers that used to play for their respective clubs, do you feel that this is an advantage or a disadvantage when it comes to managing a club or does it not have an effect at all?

I think too much attention is given in the media to this kind of question. Except in rare cases, managers will treat it just the same as any other match. It is true that it could provide a tactical advantage if most of the personnel (and more importantly, their opposite number in the other dugout) are the same, but that assumes that the way they’ll play has remained static down to the most minute detail, which almost never happens. Both Lowe and David Artell, as well as a few players in each of their sides, will have ‘inside knowledge’ of what to expect, but this can quickly change, depending on the context of the game.

What would think would be a successful season for Bury and who do you think will be promoted and relegated at the end of the season?

I’ll stick to what I said prior to the season beginning; success for Bury will simply be winning more than they lose in the league, even if it’s by a margin of just one. Expectations might have been raised slightly by the start, but should they win tomorrow, there are still two extremely tough looking matches to contest in October, which could make the won and lost columns parallel once again.

Lincoln City were my biggest tip for promotion, and they look to be the best side in the division at the present time by a fair distance. I also thought MK Dons would book an immediate return to the third tier, and I’ve seen little to dissuade me of my convictions, although they had struggled to score many goals until last week. Colchester United ought to be there or thereabouts, but have had one or two more disappointing results than I’d have expected.

Macclesfield Town were and still are the obvious candidates for relegation, and I don’t think sacking Mark Yates will turn around their season. I’m still quite concerned for Grimsby Town, despite some of the talent in their ranks. I think we can safely say that Yeovil Town have demonstrated more than enough to shake off any fears of demotion!