OPPOSITION VIEW: Bury defying all expectations and blessed with dangerman Pope

Tommy Lee has the post to thank for keeping this Tom Pope shot out

Tommy Lee has the post to thank for keeping this Tom Pope shot out

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Bury are defying expectations and could go top of League One with a win over Chesterfield on Saturday afternoon.

Of course the Spireites could join the Shakers on 14 points should they come away from Gigg Lane with the victory, but as Bury journalist Mikael McKenzie says, no one expected such a good start to the season for David Flitcroft’s men.

He said: “They’ve started extremely well and completely above expectation.

“Tipped as one of the favourites for relegation, Bury have so far defied the odds and sit third in the league table.

“A win on Saturday could see them go top.

“It’s only early days but nobody would have even dreamed of this having lost last year’s top goalscorer Leon Clarke and player of the season Peter Clarke in the summer.”

According to McKenzie, Bury carry a real threat out wide from where they whip balls into the box, and they are in free-scoring form.

“Bury love to get the ball wide and utilise the mesmerising duo of Danny Mayor and Zeli Ismail on the wings,” he said.

“The Shakers have notched 15 goals in their last five games with the majority of goals coming from crosses and set pieces, so attacking is always at the forefront of David Flitcroft’s plans.

“In current form it doesn’t look like many defences will be able to keep them at bay this season – only Coventry have managed that feat so far.”

The man to watch for Sam Hird and Tom Anderson, who kept Alex Revell so quiet last weekend, is Tom Pope.

He is experiencing a bit of a resurgence at Gigg Lane as a key player having faced a possible departure earlier this year.

McKenzie said: “The towering forward has led the line superbly and is the club’s top goalscorer with four goals.

“Pope was placed on the transfer list in the summer but he demanded to stay and fight for his place in the team.

“This loyalty is paying dividends and he is now one of the first names on the team sheet.”

Bury have won their last three League One games on the bounce and before that triumphed in the EFL Trophy against Morecambe.

Their last home loss came at the hands of Oldham.

Likely line-up (4-4-2): Williams; Jones, Maher, Kay, Leigh; Ismail, Mellis, Soares, Mayor; Vaughan, Pope.