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Bury lost its first away match since the last day of January when it went down 1-2 at Bradford on Tuesday but one thinks that the Shakers are value outsiders for their English League One game at struggling Shrewsbury on Saturday.
All good things must come to an end sooner or later and that is what happened when Bury’s 17-match unbeaten run on the road – a sequence that included 14 wins – concluded with a loss to which the Shakers contributed because Reece Brown put through his own net for Bradford’s crucial second goal.
Former Bury midfielder David Flitcroft, who played for the Shakers in the mid 2000s in a career that did not scale the same heights as that of his younger brother Gary, has been in charge of the Gigg Lane team since December 2013. Bury’s board has backed Flitcroft’s judgement in the transfer market ever since he became the Shakers manager two years ago and it would be fair to describe the Greater Manchester side as one of English League One’s most ambitious. For example, Leon Clarke and Tom Pope are a couple of strikers who would get a start in most English League One teams and Bury recruited ex-Bolton, Burnley and Manchester United winger Chris Eagles in the lead up to Saturday’s game.
Flitcroft has a clear tactical plan and his strategies have caught the eye of punters who like to bet on corner kicks because the corners statistics of the Shakers in English League One are incredible. Bury has conceded a remarkable 117 corner kicks in its first 13 English League One matches, including 21 in one game. Nine of Bury’s 13 English League One games have gone over 10 and a half corner kicks and only three times have the Shakers had the most corners in a game. The message from Flitcroft is clear: he is happy for Bury to concede corner kicks provided that the Shakers post wins in other statistical battles that he considers more important.
Bury lost last season’s English League Two match between Shrewsbury and the Shakers at the Greenhous Meadow 0-5 but one is not expecting anything like that result this term. Bury is flying high on the English League One ladder – the Shakers are sixth with a record of six wins, six draws and a division-low two losses – whereas Shrewsbury is ranked 18th thanks to its four wins, two draws and division-high eight losses. Shrewsbury has lost five of its last six games across all competitions so, if one thinks that Bury’s confidence has taken a hit or two in recent weeks, the Shakers are in better mental shape than the Shrews.
Shrewsbury and Bury have had seven common English League One opponents and one’s take on those results is that three of the collateral form lines favour the Shakers, two of them favour the Shrews and two are inconclusive. Couple those findings with Shrewsbury’s recent performances everywhere and Bury’s cockiness away from home and one would argue that, at worst, the Shakers should be joint favourites for Saturday’s match at the Greenhous Meadow. However, Marathonbet are offering odds of 54/25 3.16 +216 2.16 2.16 -0.46 about a Bury victory and one feels that is far too generous.
Bury’s 0-5 loss at Shrewsbury was a watershed moment in its ultimately successful English League Two promotion campaign. Bury beat Shrewsbury 1-0 at home in the subsequent reverse English League One and one thinks that the Shakers, boosted by the arrival of former English Premier League star Eagles, have an excellent chance of taming the Shrews yet again.
Bury to beat Shrewsbury
24th October 15:00
Odds: 54/25 3.16 +216 2.16 2.16 -0.46