Last updated at 15:00, Saturday 10th December 2011

More Weston woe for Ward


Mike Holden
League One - weekend preview
1pt Bury to beat Colchester at 11/4 (Stan James)Unfashionable Shakers are in fine fettle and the hosts could be on a hiding to nothing.

John Ward has been on the end of a raw deal ever since he picked up the reins at Colchester and the situation is only likely to get worse following a couple of humbling defeats in recent weeks, so the U's might be on a hiding to nothing when unfashionable Bury visit on Saturday.

The home crowd have never really taken to Ward but when you base your judgements on budgets, most would conclude that the former Carlisle boss is doing reasonably well. Of course, such judgements are always relative and it's unfortunate for Ward that his efforts are being judged in relation to the club's recent Championship history and the initial strides made towards bouncing back from relegation under the excellent Paul Lambert.

The whole scenario isn't helped by the fact that Colchester now turn out in a half-empty new stadium that fosters a false image of where they belong in the overall scheme of things and the level of abuse being aimed at the manager for the team's mid-table meandering prompted Karl Robinson to voice his disgust at what he heard from the stands three weeks ago.

Robinson no doubt copped an earful of the vitriol on a particularly bad day given that his MK Dons team were dismantling Colchester to the tune of a 5-1 scoreline but nobody who has monitored the situation over the past two seasons will be at all surprised by his interpretation.

Now we can only assume that a negative undercurrent will persist in light of last weekend's home defeat against League Two opposition in the FA Cup and things could soon turn sour against Richie Barker's under-rated outfit.

Morale is high in the Bury camp following a run of three straight victories and Barker this week revealed that he had offered his players the incentive of three days off if they reached a specific target by the end of November, which they did, and having stayed true to his word, he will probably be raising the bar for their next bonus.

Meanwhile, the squad spent a few days training at Manchester United's Carrington training complex on their return, thanks to Barker's friendship with United's reserve team boss Warren Joyce and we expect all of this to have a positive effect when they return to action in Essex.

The Shakers have won four of their last five on the road and the 11/4 with Stan James about the away win here is more than acceptable.

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