A look at tomorrow's opponents
This weekend Bristol Rovers entertain Bury for the first time since a 2-0 victory on 9n April 2007. Rovers will be hoping to continue their recent unbeaten run of results against a team sitting just one point below them in the table.
The Lancashire team has had a tough couple of years financially and were delighted this week to agree a three-year sponsorship deal with JD Sports that will see their ground's name change from Gigg Lane for the very first time to take on the name of their sponsors and become the JD Stadium.
The Shakers chairman Stewart Day said that he hoped fans understood the financial reasons behind the move, "I hope our many loyal fans appreciate the progress being made to ensure financial security at the club."
After 11 games of the season they sacked manager Kevin Blackwell who had taken control in September 2012. He was unable to keep Bury in League One as the club battled against severe financial issues for much of last term.
He made 23 signings after a takeover was completed in May. His record was 13 victories, 18 draws and 26 defeats.
The Club recently confirmed Ronnie Jepson, who took temporary charge after Blackwell’s dismissal in mid-October, will remain caretaker manager until January.
In their last game the Greater Manchester team went down 3-1 at home to Torquay, who had experienced a six-game winless run. The Gull’s defender Aaron Downes’ scored twice from Kevin Nicholson corners.
Bury keeper Brian Jensen chose to stay on his line for Nicholson’s 18th-minute corner, only for Downes to leap highest at the back post to open the scoring.
Cameron did briefly make up for his defensive frailties, volleying home after chesting down a headed centre from his centre-back partner Edjenguele to equalise in the 24th minute. Downes repeated his earlier heroics five minutes later, scoring a carbon copy header from six yards out.
On 56 minutes Eliot Benyon pulled back a cross for striker Paul McCallum to stroke the ball home and make the game safe.
Jepson looked at centre-backs Nathan Cameron and William Edjenguele to have greater command, commenting after the game, “It is disappointing to get done by two set-pieces. You’ve got to take a bit of pride. If you are designated a man to mark you make sure that man doesn’t score at all costs.
“It isn’t happening for any of the strikers at the moment in terms of goal return,” admitted Jepson. “I’ve given people opportunities. Sometimes you have got to change it around and freshen it up. I’ve done that. I’ve given people a run of games, hoping they would come to the fore in terms of goals. It’s not happened.”
Looking at the background to games between the clubs, the very first meeting between the clubs took place on 7th September 1953 in a 2nd Division game at Eastville.
Goals by Petherbridge and Massey (own goal) sent a 29,002 Eastville crowd home happy. The return match at Gigg Lane just nine days later saw the Shakers run out 3-1 winners.
Whilst Rovers have a pretty good home record against the Shakers the away results are woeful. During Rovers' first 7 visits to Bury they came away with 1 win and 6 defeats. At Eastville the results were exactly reversed, as Rovers won 6 and lost 1 against their visitors from Lancashire.
Season 1956-57 really showed remarkable results by the two teams. This was during the days when teams played against one another on Christmas Day and the return fixture on Boxing Day.
The Christmas Day Fixture was at Gigg Lane and the Shakers ran out 7-2 victors. Whether they over celebrated their victory or not the Pirates gained their revenge with a 6-1 win the following day. How can a team get 10 goals better or worse in one day?
Amongst the memorable games between the two clubs was one at Eastville on 18th October 1969. Rovers had got off to a good start to the season and were shocked when George Kerr scored after only 4 minutes.
After 16 minutes Ray Graydon changed wings with Harold Jarman and scored with a fierce drive. Bury were looking very strong on the break.
In the second half Graydon again fired in a fierce shot and Lyons in the Shakers goal was beaten just inside his near post to give Rovers a 2-1 victory. Rovers finished the season in 3rd spot (missing out on promotion) and Bury in 19th position.
On 15 November 2003 Rovers fought hard to gain a lead through Lewis Haldene only to throw away an equaliser in the 70th minute to Dan Swailes. In the push for all three points they lost to a last minute Joe O’Neil stunner. As so often that season Rovers snatched defeat from the jaws of victory!
In the 2006/7 season, the last time the teams met Rovers won both games 2-0, with a Ricky Lambert double in the home tie.
Latest news from Gigg Lane is that Craig Jones has signed a two-and-a-half year deal. Chairman Stewart Day expressed his pleasure, “We are delighted to have tied Craig into a longer term contract with the club as Craig's ambitions match the clubs to be playing football at a higher level. We feel that Craig will play a significant part to make this achievable with Bury FC and how we want the club to progress forward.”
Jones was equally enthusiastic “I am delighted to have signed a contract extension as the ambition of the chairman and board of directors has shown me where they want to take this club.
"I am excited at the prospect of being part of that journey to take this club into the higher levels of the football league where we rightly belong; the transformation at the club in the past few months has been exceptional which is why I wanted to commit my future to Bury FC.”
The match could to be a major turning point for both team’s seasons.
Written by Gerry Prewett.