Jim Bentley: I’ve tried everything to improve defending from set plays

Jim Bentley.
Jim Bentley.

Jim Bentley says he has tried everything to solve The Shrimps’ shocking defending from set pieces.

Morecambe have shipped goals from corners and free-kicks with alarming regularity this season and the problem shows no sign of ending ahead of the trip to Bristol Rovers.

The 10-man Shrimps conceded two more in the 4-2 defeat to Oxford on Saturday, which leaves them bottom of the League 2 form table with just one point from a six-game winless run.

Bentley said: “We’ve done everything.

“Some times we back off it, some times we’ve not mentioned it, some times we’ve given out a bit of rollicking and some times we’ve been through stuff again on the training ground.

“We’ve tried all things and at the end of the day if they’re not good enough in that particular department of the game they’re not good enough.

“It’s been our Achilles heel all season.”

While defensively The Shrimps have been poor as a whole, the goals have seen opposing players lose their markers all to easily for Bentley’s liking.

And with a whole host of players out of contract in the summer the Morecambe boss says it could impact on the futures of some.

He said: “If it was one player you could maybe take that player out but at the minute it seems to different players on different weeks.

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“Something’s not right. When you’re looking towards the future it’s a black mark for certain players because we haven’t been tight enough.

“We probably haven’t had the height and power this season compared to other seasons but when you’ve got the three main centre halves on the pitch you expect them to be doing better than what they’re doing.

“It’s happened and all you can do is continue to work on it. In the hotel on Friday we’ll go through their main headers and look at any particular corner routines.

“You can go through it until you’re blue in the face but once they go over that white line they’ve got to take it on board and man up and make sure they get the better of that individual battle.”

The Shrimps’ problems have been the main reason a promising start to the season has evaporated with Bentley’s men 17th in League 2, 12 points from both the play-off and relegation places.

He said: “It’s a tough league and it’s difficult to compete.

“But if you can be organised, have a good spirit, work hard and have a sprinkling of good players then you can give yourself a chance.

“We always go into every year hoping we can be the team that season that’s going to be in the play-offs.

“Look at Leicester, who would have predicted they would be where they are.

“Fair play to Accrington, they’ve done very well this season. You cling on to that hope and give it your all.

“But it’s been a fine dividing line recently and we’ve just tailed off in the league.

“We were in a decent enough position and it’s not nice. I want to do well and win every game.

“But it doesn’t matter who we’re playing, I’ll still believe we can win every game and hopefully things will change for us.”

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