JOE Skarz reckons a new determination to protect Bury goalkeeper Trevor Carson is the driving force behind the Shakers improved defensive performances in their last two games.

Bury should have been celebrating their first win in 13 matches on Saturday, but instead they had to be content with a 1-1 draw in the impressive Deepdale stadium at Preston North End.

That followed a gutsy 0-0 home draw against former boss’ Alan Knill’s Scunthorpe in a game they might have won had they had the rub of the green in front of goal.

The two draws followed a run of five games in which Richie Barker’s side conceded 17 goals.

Preston took a fortunate lead when Chuks Aneke’s left foot strike was deflected off left-back Skarz’s heel to wrong foot Carson and trickle agonisingly in.

But late substitute Lateef Elford-Alliyu grabbed a late equaliser to seal a precious survival point. We’re unbeaten in two now, although we are without a win,” said Skarz, pictured. “But the confidence within the players is still really high.

“Trev’s not had a lot to do (in the Preston game), and we feel, as a defensive unit, we owe him because he’s been letting in too many goals through no fault of his own and it’s got us all down.

“But we’ve worked very hard on the training ground, and, when you do that, you will eventually see the rewards. Getting the point will do us good psychologically.”

Bury play Tranmere on Saturday at Gigg, and Skarz is not expecting an easy ride from Ronnie Moore’s side whose form has been on the up of late.

“They’re on a real high,” he said. “But we need only seven points now to reach our target of 50 – our target for League One safety. It’s in our hands.

“There are plenty of other teams who would like to be in our position.

“The last two performances have been a big positive and we all agree that we need to do this for the gaffer as much as for ourselves.”

Meanwhile, Skarz paid tribute to the travelling support of up 1,000 Bury fans who out-sang the Deepdale home support.

“The supporters were brilliant,” he said. “They always are away from home.

“They know now that the more positive they are in the stands, the better the reaction they will get from the lads on the pitch.”