BURY manager David Flitcroft has dismissed criticism of his decision not to give the club’s star players a run out in their opening pre-season match at Radcliffe Borough last week.

Big-money signings such as Ryan Lowe, Nicky Adams and Danny Mayor were held back for tomorrow night’s game against Sheffield Wednesday at Salford Red Devils’ AJ Bell Stadium.

And Flitcroft, who was critical of the standard of the pitch and opposition at Stainton Park, believes there would have been “no winners” had he risked his first-team players in the annual curtain-raiser.

“There were some pleasing aspects (of the night),” said Flitcroft, after seeing transfer-listed striker Ashley Grimes score twice in a 4-1 win.

“But I have learned as a manager that if you start taking real professionals down to a night like that then there are not many winners.

“The chairman has invested in Danny Mayor, Ryan Lowe and Nicky Adams for the Bury fans to enjoy this season and if people think I am daft enough to take those sort of first-team players across to Radcliffe to potentially get injured – well I’m not mad yet.

“I’m not a people pleaser, it’s not me.

“I’ve got a vision of how this team is going to look, as to how we are going to play. I’ve got a clear vision as to how we are going to be fitter than most teams and I have got to now pull that together.

“If that means not taking players to Radcliffe Borough then I won’t do it.”

New centre-back Keil O’Brien was substituted on 30 minutes after picking up a knock, while Flitcroft claims the players were put at risk by the surface and some heavy challenges.

“It was a difficult night, a real difficult night,” he added.

“I don’t believe, playing at that sort of level, is conducive to a professional environment.

“The pitch was just about okay. There was no chance for a club like Radcliffe to get water on it, so it was sticky.

“The lads themselves – the Radcliffe boys – I think it’s tough for Kev (Kevin Glendon). Usually (in the past) he has had a more competitive team and a better quality of player.

“It was difficult for them to get anywhere near us, so obviously you end up getting caught late, which disappointed me.

“And Keil O’Brien has gone over, so it was a disappointing night in that respect.”

Even though the majority of the club’s big-hitters stayed at home – and instead featured in a behind-closed-doors game against West Brom on Saturday – Flitcroft believes the Boro match highlighted a lack of strength in depth.

“There is no doubt, after watching the Radcliffe game, we are light,” he said.

“So it will be a case of maybe looking at two or three more we can bring in, but they have got to be the right people.”