THE BIG MATCH

Richie Barker's career as Bury manager saw him finish off guiding the Shakers up to npower League 1 in 2011 before keeping them up last season ahead of his move to Crawley Town over the summer - and now he comes up against his old side for the first time on Saturday.

Crawley welcome Bury to the Broadfield Stadium with neither side in the best of form, although Crawley's flying start to the season means they begin the weekend in sixth.

The Red Devils have lost four of their last six in all competitions, including exits from the Capital One Cup and Johnstone's Paint Trophy, so will want to get back in the winning routine as the boss faces his former employers.

Barker told the Crawley Observer: "I'm not going to say they are struggling because they are not, they are better than where they are, and they have enough quality in the team. If we go into it thinking it's going to be easy we will end up not getting anything out of it.

"I happened to be in the right place at the right time. People say I did well out of Bury and I did, but they did pretty well out of me. When I took over they were in League 2 and only just in the Play-Offs. I left them as a mid-table League 1 team who were financially secure.

"We only get three points if we win it, and I'm looking forward to meeting some really good people. But from 3pm onwards it's about making sure we win the game and get back to where we should be."

Bury still find themselves bottom of the table and remain the only club in the division yet to pick up a win so far this season, although they did get a boost in midweek by winning on penalties at Rochdale in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy - their first victory of any kind in 2012/13.

But in League 1, it's six defeats and just four draws from their 10 games so far with recently-appointed boss Kevin Blackwell still looking for his first three-point haul.

Blackwell told Shakers Player: "They [Crawley] have had a terrific couple of seasons. There's no doubt financially, they've got a decent sponsor, a good backer, the owner is an ambitious bloke who wants to get the club up. He's bankrolled it to date and he'll continue to do so.

"It will be a tough game, no doubt about that. They're there on merit, but we've got to go there and be smart and get the result that we want, and not really worry about Crawley and who they are.

"As I said to the players, we are Bury FC and when we park our bus outside someone's club we're coming there for a reason, and that's not to get beat."

KEEP AN EYE ON

Tranmere Rovers continue to set the npower League 1 pace and remain unbeaten after 11 games with 27 points to their name from a possible 33.

And on Saturday they will look to continue that run, at home to Yeovil Town, who were at the top of the table themselves not that long ago before a bad run saw them slip down the standings.

Tranmere boss Ronnie Moore has just collected his second successive Manager of the Month award, while Jake Cassidy has been named Player of the Month - reflecting Rovers' great recent form.

And Moore told Tranmere Player: "[It's] Another tough game, no doubt about that. I know Gary [Johnson, Yeovil manager] well, they had a tremendous start then they had a little blip. He'll be pleased that they won 3-1 last week and it's another tough game.

"It doesn't matter whether you're playing Notts County, Yeovil, Bury, there isn't an easy game here.

"Yeovil have got good players in good areas, they've got pace in good areas, so we've got to make sure that when we are attacking we're defending and that means the back four have to be on their toes when we're attacking, not just watch the game. They are a good counter-attacking side."

Yeovil made a flying start to the campaign themselves with three wins and a draw from their first four games to reach the summit, only to then lose their next six.

They stopped the rot last week with a 3-1 success at home to Colchester United which put them 13th in the table ahead of Saturday's visit to the leaders.

Yeovil have already won at Brentford and Scunthorpe United this season, with boss Johnson believing his players have a chance at Tranmere.

He told Glovers Player: "They've had a fantastic start and they've got a strong side. But we're not going there without a chance. It's not worth turning up if you don't believe you've got a chance.

"The pressure is on them. They're the favourites as they're the ones who are top of the league. It would be nice to go there and hand them their first defeat."

ELSEWHERE IN THE DIVISION

Swindon Town have been in excellent form of late to lift themselves up to fourth in npower League 1 as they look for a second successive promotion.

Paolo Di Canio's men have won four and drawn one of their last six, second only to leaders Tranmere Rovers in the form guide, and now the Robins will look to push on at home to Coventry City.

The Sky Blues had suffered a difficult start to the season but the arrival of Mark Robins as manager has coincided with an upturn in their fortunes that has seen them pick up their first two League 1 wins as part of a run of four games unbeaten, including progress in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

The two teams last met in 2001 in the FA Cup but their previous league encounter came in February 1994, a Premier League match that Swindon won 3-1 at the County Ground.

Still unbeaten so far this season, along with Tranmere, are Stevenage and Sheffield United who occupy second and third respectively with 11 games played.

Stevenage have won six and drawn five, whereas the Blades have won five and drawn six, to sit two points behind Boro.

Boro are on the road with a trip to Colchester United, who are two places outside the bottom four, and the Blades are in home action as they take on Oldham Athletic with Paul Dickov's men 16th in the table.

Fifth going into the weekend are Milton Keynes Dons, but they could be overtaken by four teams by the time they travel to Preston North End on Sunday.

Preston start the weekend eighth, two points behind their visitors, so while they could also drop down both teams will know that a win will lift them right back up again.

The four teams who can overtake the Dons on Saturday are Crawley Town, Notts County, Brentford and Doncaster Rovers.

Crawley host Bury, while Notts County are on the road to Carlisle United and looking to bounce back after collecting just one point from successive games against Sheffield United, Stevenage and Tranmere to drop out of the top six.

Brentford and Doncaster both have fixtures away to sides currently in the bottom four - the Bees are at Scunthorpe United and Doncaster at Hartlepool United, with both hosts struggling for form of late.

Sunday's other match sees Walsall, who are 11th going into the weekend but two points outside the Play-Offs, travelling to 18th-placed Shrewsbury Town.

Saturday's remaining two fixtures see Portsmouth host Crewe Alexandra while Bournemouth, whose managerial situation remains unresolved, at home to Leyton Orient.

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