A look at what the Shakers will bring to League 1 in 2015-16.
Who are this lot then?
They're Bury, a side in Greater Manchester, who, like Blues, earned promotion from Sky Bet League Two last season. We had a couple of really good battles with the Shakers last season, with the game at Gigg Lane particularly memorable back in April 2015. They've League One experience before of course, but spent two years in League Two following relegation from the third tier before their return. They have players with the experience and knowledge of League One.
Did they get up to much last season?
They were very consistent last season and achieved promotion to League One because of that. However, they did have a terrible November and early December, failing to win in eight games in all competitions, which included six defeats. But the Shakers came through strong in the run in, and in the final 16 games of the season, suffered just three defeats – including one against Southend – winning the other 13 matches.
Who's the boss?
David Flitcroft is the Shakers boss, and a former Bury player. Flitcroft was announced as the Bury manager in December 2013 – taking over after Kevin Blackwell departed the club. Prior to arriving at Gigg Lane, Flitcroft held the same position at Barnsley between 2011 and 2013 after taking over on a caretaker basis. The 41-year-old played for the likes of Preston North End, Lincoln City, Chester City, Rochdale, Macclesfield and Hyde United, hanging up his boots in 2011.
Any stand out players?
In Danny Mayor, Bury boast the League Two Player of the Year. A player well known to Blues fans following a short loan stint at Roots Hall back in 2013, Mayor joined Bury originally on loan for the whole of the 2013-14 season before agreeing a permanent switch to Gigg Lane from Sheffield Wednesday. Born in Lancashire, Mayor came through the ranks at Preston North End before making the move to Sheffield. Ryan Lowe bagged close to 20 strikes for Tranmere Rovers the last time he was in League One, whilst in Kelvin Etuhu, they have a powerhouse in midfield.
As well as the aforementioned Mayor, defender Peter Clarke has recently made the move to Bury after his departure from Blackpool. Clarke, of course represented Southend with distinction. Leon Clarke is another to have just moved to Bury and he, like Peter, is another ex-Blues player. Current Blue David Worrall is a former Bury player, as is Cameron Belford, who spent time on loan at Roots Hall from the Shakers a couple of seasons back. Jonson Clarke-Harris and Ryan Cresswell are two others to have represented both the Blues and Bury.
What's the ground like?
Gigg Lane, or The JD Stadium, has been home to Bury since 1885 and holds close to 12,000 spectators. Both Manchester United and Bolton Wanderers have hosted reserve games at Gigg Lane in the past and has also been used for the likes of rugby league, cricket, baseball and lacrosse.
How far away is the place?
A trek to Bury is a 398-mile round trip for Blues fans leaving from Southend.
Any big name fans?
Big name film director Danny Boyle is a Bury supporter having been born in Radcliffe, in Lancashire. The father of Gary and Phil Neville is also a Bury fan. Neville Neville was formerly a director at the club.
Good memories against them?
Southend United wins: 16
Bury wins: 10
Blues were unbeaten against the Shakers last season in the two games and six minutes played against the Shakers.
The last time we took on Bury was at Gigg Lane in April, producing a 1-0 win in Greater Manchester on a Tuesday evening after the initial fixture was abandoned after only six minutes due to a waterlogged pitch.
At Roots Hall, the game finished all square, and we all know about Ian Benjamin's famous goal against Bury back in 1991 to seal a Southend promotion!
We are also unbeaten in our last seven games against Bury.
What are the odds on that?
Bury are priced with Sky Bet at 14/1 to win promotion to the Championship this coming season.