Bentley: Places up for grabs at Dagenham

Paul Mullin celebrates his second goal for Morecambe against Kilmarnock on Saturday.
Paul Mullin celebrates his second goal for Morecambe against Kilmarnock on Saturday.

Morecambe boss Jim Bentley insists his team is far from picked for the opening game at Dagenham & Redbridge this Saturday.

Paul Mullin was amongst the players to leave Bentley with plenty to ponder as he fired in both goals in the 2-2 friendly draw with Kilmarnock.

The Shrimps manager says he will likely pick the side for the season opener on Thursday with three of four places up for grabs as Bentley has a deeper pool of players to pick from this season.

He said: “It’s probably only one or two senior lads in the squad with probably one or two less young lads but it makes a hell of a difference.

“We’re alright injury wise at the moment apart from Ryan Edwards so we’ve got good strength in depth and competition for places so the players have got to be up and at it.

“They’ve got to have a big week, all of them. The team’s semi-picked, you’re talking about seven, eight or nine players.

“One decision has been sorted with the injury to Ryan Edwards but people who came on on Saturday staked their claim for a place at Dagenham.

“We wanted competition and like I said to the lads, there’s no use feeling sorry for yourself if you’re out of the side you’ve got to battle.

“That’s football, we want battlers, we want people who will run through brick walls in training to stake their claim to be in the starting 11.

“That’s the kind of week we’ll have before we pick the team maybe on Tuesday, but probably Thursday.”

Striker Mullin may have put pen to paper on a short-term deal at the Globe Arena with Marcus Marshall joining Lincoln on a season-long loan but Bentley is still looking to strengthen his squad.

He said: “We’re still searching, we’re trying to improve. 
“We want that competition and want to add quality and I think we’ve done that.

“I think we’re a bit stronger in depth and look better as a team.

“We’ll see what happens. There’s been one or two targets that we’ve missed out on.

“And I don’t want to just go and sign someone for the sake of it, we’re constantly working and we’ll see where we go.”

Mark Hughes went off at half-time against Kilmarnock on Saturday with a bad back but is expected to be okay for the trip to Victoria Road.

He will likely be partnered by Andy Parrish at the back with Edwards set to miss up to two months after having surgery on a broken finger.

Morecambe’s final pre-season friendly at Kendal on tonight, Tuesday, is likely to feature largely reserve and youth team players.