What Richie Barker wouldn't give to tap into whatever it was he did to get the best out of Bury for the first nine months of his reign.
The 36-year-old Yorkshireman looked like a natural when he made his managerial bow following the shock departure of Alan Knill last April, guiding Bury to promotion with a run of six straight wins when the tension of the promotion race was at its highest.
And he didn't fare too badly at this level, either, settling comfortably into mid-table with an average of better than 1.4 points per game come the end of November.
However, the season has slowly run off course and Barker is beginning to show signs of his inexperience, losing his composure when questioned about questioned by the media about a mistake from Phil Picken that allowed Carlisle to take the lead in a 4-1 defeat last weekend.
Barker was upset that people who weren't at the game would see it as a hammering even though the Shakers matched their hosts for 80 minutes, that people would jump to the conclusion that Bury can't stop shipping goals even though they defended pretty well for 80 minutes.
The inference was that those would somehow get the wrong end of the stick, but we don't really see what other end of the stick there is to grab. Bury are losing football matches, they are conceding goals habitually and now, without their suspended talisman Peter Sweeney, they look more likely to be turned over by Wycombe than odds of 12/5 might suggest.
The Chairboys have been boosted by a sudden injection of quality in recent weeks with Paul Hayes, Gary Doherty, Craig Eastmond and Chris Hackett arrving on loan last month and though League One survival remains a tall order, they will arrive at Gigg Lane in good spirits having picked up seven points from the last four matches.
The only downside to this bet is Wanderers' dreadful away record (12 defeats in the last 15 attempts, including each of the last six) but few of those who will line up for the visitors on Saturday should be held responsible and it's to be hoped the experience that Gary Waddock has acquired will give them a bit more steel through the spine.
Either way, this all comes down to mood in the respective camps. Bury's confidence has taken a battering with no win in ten and 24 goals conceded, while Wycombe are playing with renewed determination and a sense of optimism that hasn't been evident at any point since August.
1pt Wycombe to beat Bury at 12/5 (Ladbrokes)Reuse content