When Bury went hunting for a new manager back in December, it was no surprise rumours started to circulate about one man.
Fleetwood Town’s assistant manager Chris Lucketti is considered something of a Gigg Lane legend, his 235 appearances coming in the Shakers’ most successful run of modern times.
But Town’s number two insists there was never a chance of him taking a seat in the home dugout for tonight’s clash – the Fylde coast club his focus then, as it is now.
“My loyalties are to Fleetwood and to Graham,”he said.
“It was something I never thought about.
“I was linked all over the place but that was always going to be the case because of my time there.
“But that’s it – there was nothing more.”
Instead it was former Barnsley boss David Flitcroft who took the helm at the struggling Shakers, a club recovering from a summer takeover.
Lucketti believes his former club are in safe hands and returning to stability after a long period of uncertainty over their future.
He said: “I think there’s a new manager, a number of new players, a lot of experience has been added to that team from the one we played – a lot of quality too.
“We’ll have to be at our best to come away with the points.”
Bury’s home record is impressive this term – just three defeats.
And Lucketti believes Town will have a battle on their hands with the excitable home crowd.
He said: “Their supporters and very loyal, very vocal, and Bury have a great home record this season.
“We know it certainly isn’t going to be easy.
“They’re down at the wrong end of the table but they are over the worst period they were going to have.
“The situation off the pitch has changed and they are going in the right direction now.
“They probably bottomed out six months ago.
“Hopefully now they are on the upward curve.”
There’s be no sentimentality for the Fleetwood assistant, despite his legendary status at the Greater Manchester club with whom he played Championship football.
“I’ve got fond memories of Gigg Lane and my time at Bury,”said Lucketti.
“It was a fantastic period for myself and the club.
“I’ve got some great friends and some fantastic memories from my time there.
“But my focus and the team’s focus is on getting three points.
“Emotions and memories have to be pushed to the side.
“It’s all about coming away with three points, that’s what we’ll aim to do.”
And he’s hoping to see Fleetwood build on their first goal in seven hours of football, a Jamille Matt strike which secured victory at rock-bottom Torquay United last Saturday.
Lucketti admitted Fleetwood had been guilty of ‘slack’ finishing but is hoping they have now turned the corner and return to their free-scoring best in time for a late season promotion push.
He said: “It was a very well taken goal, a very well worked goal.
“It came from Schuey winning the second ball, a great through ball and Jamille finishing in style.
“If you’d seen that on Match of the Day it wouldn’t have looked out of place.
“It was a goal of real quality, one we needed and hopefully the catalyst for a run of goals.
“We’ve been knocking on the door, having slices of bad luck here and there.
“But the way we’ve been finishing has been slack.”
If Town have been wasteful up front, they have been positively frugal at the back since that 4-0 defeat to Plymouth Argyle.
Three clean sheets on the bounce have helped steady the ship.
And it’s a run former defender Lucketti is anxious to see continue.
He told The Gazette: “We spoke over the last couple of months and made it clear that if we don’t win we can’t afford to lose.
“With five or six of our defeats, we should have been coming away with a point.
“Of late we’ve become hard to beat and we’re looking really strong.”
And he’s hoping the return of some of Fleetwood’s more senior players, as the end of the season approaches, will give the club the necessary boost to finish the job and secure a top-three finish.
“We looked at our starting teams, and when things don’t go as well as they might have done you do think about experience,” said Lucketti.
“We’re still quite a way behind other sides in terms of League experience.
“Steven Schumacher has been out, Jeff Hughes is out, David Ball is out. It does make a difference.
“There’s still a few with a non-league mentality, and they needed to be guided and talked through at times.
“The guys with League experience tip the balance for us.
“I’ve no doubt we’re a better side with that experience in there.”
n Fleetwood Town have signed centre-half Tom Davies from FC United of Manchester.
The defender will return to the promotion-hunting Evo-Stik NPL club on loan until the end of the season.