Barry Roche: It’s a clean slate this season

Barry Roche.
Barry Roche.

Barry Roche believes it will be like a new start for Morecambe this season after a horror end to the last campaign.

The Shrimps won just four times in 2016 to slide down the League 2 table and finish 21st.

There has been plenty of change around over the summer however with several senior players leaving and plenty of fresh faces arriving at the Globe Arena.

The 34-year-old, entering his ninth season with The Shrimps, said: “There’s been quite a big change around in players, a lot of new, fresh faces that have livened up the place a bit.

“You can’t dwell on what happened.

“We know it wasn’t good enough last season.

“We’ve got to look to put things right starting next Saturday.”

The squad upheaval is the most Roche has seen during his time with the club.

Experienced heads such as Shaun Beeley and Andy Parrish have been let go while Dean Winnard, Liam Wakefield and Rhys Turner are amongst the new arrivals looking to help Jim Bentley’s side improve on last time around.

Roche said: “Absolutely it’s been the biggest change of my time here.

“The gaffer and Ken (McKenna, assistant) have done really well.

“It’s obviously been well documented about the budget or lack of that they’ve been playing with.

“But they’ve brought in some good players, some good, experienced players with a little bit of youth mixed in there.”

Roche may be impressed in the squad but having been with the club since the summer of 2008 the Dublin-born stopper knows The Shrimps will be written off again.

The former Nottingham Forest youngster however says it is something the whole dressing room thrives on.

Roche, who has made more than 350 starts for The Shrimps, said: “It happens every year.

“We know we’re the bookies’ favourites to go down.

“I saw something about how one of the Plymouth papers had guessed the league table after five games and they had Morecambe with no wins and no points.

“For me it’s water off a duck’s back.

“It doesn’t mean anything to us but we do like to upset the odds.”

Now carrying the veteran tag, Roche is pleased the hard work is done and is looking forward to the proper stuff beginning.

He said: “Every player will tell you they hate pre-season.

“It’s not particularly enjoyable some of the workload but we’ve only got a few days now until the real football starts and we’re really looking forward to it.”