ANDY Bishop has called on sceptical fans to get behind the Shakers’ phoenix club as they bid to ensure a team is playing in Bury’s name next season.

Bury AFC are waiting for news on their application to play in the North West Counites League after the Gigg Lane club were expelled from the EFL last August.

The Shakers have survived several court dates since that time and limped past their 135th birthday in April with owner Steve Dale claiming he has applied for a spot in the National League.

That means some fans are not convinced by the emergence of the new outfit but ex-striker Bishop is a big supporter of their efforts having signed up for their membership scheme.

“It’s definitely understandable (that some fans have mixed feelings),” said the 37-year-old, who scored 83 goals in seven years at Gigg Lane.

“What I would say is that I just can’t see Bury itself getting back into a league next season.

“It’s going to be another 12 months down the line and when it’s going that far, will they be able to get it back?

“It’s just complete and utter madness what has happened to the club. What the fans have done with the phoenix club, trying to do it themselves, you never know in the future what might happen and they could get Gigg Lane then fans might be watching football back there again which would be brilliant.”

Bishop, now a sports teacher at Birtenshaw School which has sites in Bolton and Liverpool, got a taste of what the phoenix club could be like when he played in the Shakers legends game at Radcliffe back in October.

The former Wrexham and York man says he is planning on attending games when the new outfit kick off but stopped short of throwing his hat in the ring when it comes to being the club’s first manager.

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“The legends game was a fantastic day and if they can get support like that all the time it would be a brilliant club with their own say,” said Bishop, a one-time player-manager of Southport.

“It gave fans hope and it’s real fans with the club at heart who have set it up.

“I definitely back it and said to them I’d help in any way I could.

“I’ve got my coaching licenses and I’ve coached Southport in the National League so I have got that side of me. But it was more helping them raise awareness.

“It will be completely down to them who they get in and what they do on that side of things.

“My son supported Bury and I’ll be taking him to the games when they start up.”

As for Dale’s claims back in April about returning in the top tier of non-league, Bishop is sceptical given everything that has transpired.

“You just can’t see them being put in the National League next season,” he said.

“Everything’s up in the air, it should have been sorted a long time ago if that was his plan.

“The fans and the staff who work there are still in limbo. I saw the stuff the other day about Mike Curtis still cutting the pitch and everything.

“You just feel sorry for people like that.”