THE waiting is almost over and, as a former player and a Bury fan, like everybody else connected to the club I can’t wait for the season to start.
In my day we were lucky to get out of Greater Manchester in pre-season, but the fact the players have had a week of warm weather training in Tenerife just exemplifies the changes that have taken place at the club.
Preparations-wise, I don’t think things could have gone much better.
And if you look at the way the manager and chairman have gone about the business of signing players it seems there can only be one outcome at the end of the season – and that’s promotion.
Of course football doesn’t work like that – the acid test is not how the players fare in the first game against Cheltenham on Saturday, but where they stand after 46 games.
You never know how players are going to react to the favourites’ tag, and the pressure that brings.
But the quality of signings, and more importantly the character of players David Flitcroft has managed to attract look to have what it takes.
It is great to see that none of them are shying away from the promotion talk – they are all embracing it and are eager to take on the challenge. As a fan and a coach that’s what you want to hear.
I doubt that will have come as any surprise to Flicker, who is meticulous in his planning and will have targeted players with certain key attributes and characteristics.
That is the main difference from last season, when you got the impression Kevin Blackwell signed players for the sake of it, without much or any background work.
The current Bury boss has signed square pegs to fit square holes, they all have a job to do and a role to fill.
As a group they are his players now, not Kevin Blackwell’s, so he will stand or fall by them.
A key test of his management will be how they gel together as a team, and that will determine whether or not they live up to the expectations.
But I think the players as individuals will also have a point to prove.
Ryan Lowe, for example, is a cult hero who fans will be looking to pick up where he left off after his goals helped them earn promotion from League Two in his last full season.
Going back to a club where you have had success is not always easy, but while I don’t Lowey personally he seems to be the sort of character who will relish that challenge.
Nicky Adams is a little different in that he left Bury and achieved his success at a number other clubs – the test for him will be to repeat that with the Shakers.
But I am most looking forward to seeing how Danny Mayor steps up to the plate.
It was a big decision for him to commit to Bury and leave a Championship side in Sheffield Wednesday. Hopefully, he can have a massive season and really get the whole thing going.