THE top priority for Bury this season may be League One survival, but manager Kevin Blackwell believes a good cup run could be crucial.

The Shakers this week landed a home draw against Exeter in the first round of the FA Cup, which will be played at Gigg Lane on Saturday week.

The Devon side, who are 11th in League Two and have only won once in their last seven matches, represent a decent chance of progression.

And, far from using the match as a chance to rest his best players, Blackwell sees it as an ideal opportunity to boost Bury’s fight for league safety.

“I’ve got to concentrate on our league status, that’s for sure, but I love a cup run,” said the Bury boss.

“Please God we go as far as we can because it will add a little bit more money into the coffers.

“That money could help me bring in one or two more loan players or sign some permanent players in January to bolster the squad, so a cup run would definitely be to the benefit of the club.”

Blackwell’s current squad is paper-thin, with first choice centre-back Mark Hughes the latest to pick up an injury.

A tight hamstring forced him to sit out Tuesday’s win over Hartlepool on the bench, while captain Steven Schumacher played despite nursing a calf problem.

Both are doubts for Saturday’s visit of Walsall, while on-loan midfielder Zac Thompson continues his suspension following a straight red card at Yeovil and Lenell John-Lewis and Phil Picken remain sidelined with long-term injuries.