FORMER Blackpool, Cardiff City and Halifax manager Billy Ayre is the new Shakers first team coach.

The arrival of the likeable north-easterner has delighted Shakers player-boss Andy Preece who readily admits that he needed help on the coaching side since taking over 12 months ago.

Ayre, a former Scarborough, Hartlepool and Halifax Town player is a vastly experienced campaigner in the lower divisions.

He has managed both Blackpool and Cardiff City to promotion but was shown the door after the Welsh club's new chairman - former Wimbledon supremo Sam Hamman - installed his own people including former Crazy Gang striker Alan Cork.

But the Bluebirds loss is Bury's gain and Preece reckons his appointment will be a massive lift for the club.

"Billy's arrival is sure to make it easier for me as far as playing is concerned, he'll be able to take training and have a look at people," he said.

"We moved Andy Feeley up to work with the first team but I felt the younger players were suffering.

"Andy's done a great job with them and they are the lifeblood of the club so we need someone like him to keep bringing them on.

"We needed someone with experience to come in and Billy's just the man. He's someone I can pick things up from, a real straight-down-the-line character who will help with the day to day training while I concentrate on my fitness as a player.

"We'd been looking to bring in a loan player but I thought it was more important to get someone in to help Redders and me.

"Hopefully it will be like bringing me in as a loan player so I can concentrate a lot more on playing."

Ormskirk-based Ayre is thrilled to be back in the hurly-burly of league soccer after leaving Cardiff in October.

With a reputation as a disciplinarian he is seen as someone who the players will respect and give Preece and Redmond the benefit of his undoubted experience.

"It's a hard enough job being a manager and coach without playing as well," he said. "So I'll take some of the responsibility away from Andy and Steve.

"Two months out of the game is took long for me and I was delighted to come and get involved at Gigg Lane.

"From what I've seen so far the players have a first class attitude and there's no better starting base than that."

Ayre will stay with the Shakers until the end of the season with both parties leaving their options open from there.