SHAKERS take on local rivals Rochdale on Saturday looking to lay a bogey that has stretched back more than 21 years.

A good number of Bury's current first team squad weren't even born the last time the Shakers defeated their local rivals in a competitive match at Gigg Lane.

That was on Boxing Day 1983 when goals from Wayne Entwistle, Terry Park and Joe Jakub earned Jim Iley's side a 3-1 victory in front of 4,096 spectators.

In between there have been eight home attempts to inflict a defeat on the Spotland men, all without success.

Last season there were two bites of the cherry and two pitiful performances resulted in three points heading down Sandy Lane and a first round FA Cup exit.

As a former Rochdale boss himself, Shakers' chief Graham Barrow is desperate to end that miserable run, especially for the sake of the fans.

"We want to do it for our supporters," he said.

"There's probably a lot of them work with Rochdale fans and we'll try and make it a happy Monday morning for them.

"Funnily enough we have a good record playing them at Spotland but our home form against them is poor.

"We were certainly pathetic in the two matches we played against them at Gigg last year."

Barrow hopes to have one or two of his walking wounded back for Saturday's game, with defenders John Fitzgerald (hip) and Lee Unsworth (groin) both back in training on Thursday.

Fitzgerald has been having intensive treatment at Blackburn Rovers this week and it is hoped the problem that kept him out of international action with the Republic of Ireland Under-21s in Israel at the weekend isn't as bad as first feared.

Nevertheless, Colin Woodthorpe (back) is unlikely to be fit enough to face Dale, as is striker Jon Newby (achilles) who is awaiting results of a scan earlier this week, while Brian Barry-Murphy's ear problem is also a cause for concern.

There could be a first full outing for on-loan Oldham midfielder Danny Boshell who made a big impression when he came on late in the game at Chester on Monday.

"Danny's got a very good chance," said Barrow.

"He gave us something last week that we haven't had since Terry Dunfield got injured, he's a good player and likes to get on the ball and play.

"We'll have to consider starting with him after the way he performed on Monday.

"There are some big decisions to be made if all the players come through okay."

Monday's 2-1 defeat at Chester could well have cost Barrow the League Two Manager of the Month award for March.

With three wins (one of them at table-toppers Yeovil) and one draw going into the final game he only needed to avoid defeat to give himself a chance of taking the accolade.

He made the final four and was nominated along with Darlington's David Hodgson, Southend's Steve Tilson and Brian Laws of Scunthorpe, with Tilson's sterling work in Essex giving him the nod.

However, given the number of times the presentation of the award is followed by a home defeat it might not be a bad thing!

As a former player and manager at Chester, Monday's reverse was a real sickener for Barrow who believes one or two of his younger players need to work on their concentration levels if they are to make the grade.

"Some of the younger lads have to be more switched on," he said.

"It's all part of the learning curve but if they want to achieve something in the game they need to learn quickly.

"After we went in front, one or two of them started to do their own thing and that can't be allowed to happen.

"The Chester people were dumbfounded they'd won and Ian Rush gave me a look that said 'thank God for that!'

"All defeats hurt but when you are better than somebody and lose to them it hurts more.

"We need to get that performance out of our system Saturday."

But there were words of praise for one of the young guns in Tom Kennedy, who filled an unfamiliar central defensive role with aplomb on the day.

"I thought Tom was great for us," added Barrow.

"He showed just what a good player he can be and he could be at least a Championship player if he pushed himself more.

"He is one player who has pulled himself around in recent weeks and has responded well to being taken off against Bristol Rovers."