SHAKERS' new-look attacking formation could get another airing after manager Andy Preece leapt to its defence.

Bury started Saturday's clash with Darlington fielding three strikers - Pawel Abbott, Jon Newby and Gareth Seddon - in a 3-5-2 formation, while Preece and teenage forward David Nugent were also added to the armoury in the second half.

The bold move ensured plenty of action inside the Darlington box and set up a dramatic late fightback but only after leaving the defence exposed for the Quakers' two goals.

But Preece has backed his new adventurous tactics, which put the visitors on the back foot all game.

"I think, with this system, we could be in trouble on the break at times but we had eight chances to their two in the first half," he said.

"We had two chances in the first minute. We could have been three or four up at half-time but instead we were one down.

"We were never in any danger throughout the game. It's so frustrating sitting and standing there watching. You can't believe how we can be losing these games when we are so much on top.

"We have to find more mentally. We are competing but we need to be mentally tougher. Our football deserves to be higher in the table.

"The players have shown what they can do against Stoke and Bolton and I believe in them but you have to be ruthless in this game."

However, the new formation is unlikely to be employed for this weekend's trip to Rushden and Diamonds, with Nugent and Abbott both ruled out through suspension.

Abbott's ban comes after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season, while Nugent was sent off in a youth team fixture for disputing a linesman's decision.

Preece said losing Nugent was a blow, particularly after his morale building goal against Darlington.

"What a great finish that was from Dave Nugent," he said. "He hadn't been in the game much and he didn't get much ball but I'm delighted for him to get his third goal.

"He's suspended for three games now but he's got to learn his lesson. We've cut out the disciplinary problems with the first team and reserves but now we seem to have a problem with the youth team."