NO wonder Bury manager Richie Barker has been scouring the roads around Gigg Lane looking for the corpse of a black cat.

The way things have gone for the young Shakers’ boss in recent weeks suggests he is really down on his luck.

After a promising start to the season in which Bury drew at Huddersfield and beat Sheffield Wednesday in the league, and Coventry in the Carling Cup, things have taken a distinct turn for the worse.

Barker has lost his two star players Ryan Lowe and Damien Mozika, who were transferred on deadline day, has been robbed of the services of defender Mark Hughes and skipper Steven Schumacher through injuries and goalkeeper Cameron Belford has suffered a dramatic loss of form.

Then, hours after allowing centre-back Ben Futcher to return to Mansfield for a second loan spell, Efe Sodje picked up a suspension, which ruled him out of Saturday’s game at Hartlepool where his only other centre-back Andrai Jones made two mistakes that led directly to goals in a 3-0 defeat – Bury’s seventh successive loss.

Imagine his reaction when he returned to the changing rooms to discover Futcher had scored in Mansfield’s 3-2 win at Barrow.

And Arsene Wenger thinks he’s got problems.