RYAN Lowe feels he has a squad he can rely on to keep Bury in play-off contention during the festive period.

After Saturday’s FA Cup exit against Luton, Lowe made nine changes to his starting line-up for Tuesday night’s Checkatrade Trophy tie at Mansfield.

The Shakers hung on for a 1-0 win after Stephen Dawson’s red card six minutes from time to book their place in the third round. And Lowe has no qualms about making further changes over Christmas.

“I’m proud to go to Mansfield and play the way we did,” he said. “We had to freshen it up because the games are coming thick and fast now.

“As I’ve said to the lads, I think I’m a bit spoilt because I haven’t just got a good team, I’ve got a good squad that can be relied on at any moment.

“We’ve got a whole bunch we can rely on. It’s frustrating for some of them at the moment but I’ve told them that patience is the key.

“The way we’re playing in the league and in the cups shows the hard work and determination they’re putting in to take things on board.

“The style of play we’re playing is nice to see and it’s comfortable watching it because I always feel we’re in a good spot.”

Midfielder Jamie Barjonas is one of those who has had to bide his time, with the 19-year-old coming in for his eighth Bury appearance at Mansfield since joining on loan from Rangers in the summer.

“We’ve got a brilliant squad and the manager can trust players to stand in and do a good job, and that’s what we did at Mansfield,” he said. “To a man, the attitude was brilliant and everyone is very fit. We work on that in training a lot.

“In games like that, when you go down to 10 men, your fitness levels show.

“It helped us get the win, which we thoroughly deserved, and all the lads are buzzing.”

The draw for the third round of the Checkatrade Trophy will take place on Saturday at 12:20pm, during Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday programme.

The Shakers then host Exeter on Saturday and, although the Grecians are just two places below Bury in seventh, they have won just one of their last 10 games in all competitions.