ANDY Welsh admits Bury AFC are having to play catch-up but insists they will not use it as an excuse.

The phoenix club played their first ever competitive game on Saturday as they went down 2-1 at West Didsbury and Chorlton in the FA Vase.

While Welsh says there were plenty of positives to take out of the game, he knows his side is starting behind other clubs in North West Counties Division One North.

But ahead of the season opener at home to Steeton on October 3 – at Radcliffe’s Neuven Stadium – Welsh insists his side will not be lagging behind.

“We are behind the curve, we all know that but we won’t be crying about it,” he said. “It is to be expected. We’re a new club, recruiting players all the time so these things take time.

“We know we are not where we want to be right now and we know we are not as sharp as our rivals but the main thing is I know we will catch up.”

Welsh, who was appointed AFC’s first ever manager last month, has had to build a squad from scratch with six new players announced last week – although a number have been training with the club for a number of weeks.

“It takes time for players to bond and to gel and basically get to know each other, get used to playing and training together but these are things we are working on all the time,” he said. “I was happy with large parts of our game on Saturday but of course there is room for improvement.

“That is something we will work on in training between now and the start of the season.”

Welsh said he was glad to get that first game done and dusted and focus on getting their NWCFL campaign under way.

“No-one likes losing their first ever game but I am glad we have got it out the way,” he added.

“There was a lot of interest as you would expect and while it didn’t go our way, it was good to play some competitive football.”

Greg Daniels will go down as the scorer of Bury AFC’s first ever competitive goal – a late injury time penalty proving to be nothing more than a consolation.

“I’m happy for Greg, hopefully it is the first of many,” added Welsh. “I’m glad our fans had something to cheer, they were superb and were behind us all the way.”