Morecambe boss Bentley looking forward to renewing old rivalry

Jim Bentley hands out instructions on the training pitch at Turner's Field.

Jim Bentley hands out instructions on the training pitch at Turner's Field.

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Morecambe boss Jim Bentley can’t wait for his side to renew their rivalry with old friends Dagenham & Redbridge on the opening day of the new League 2 season this Saturday.

The Shrimps travel to Victoria Park to face a side who they’ve always had a lot in common with.

Despite being kindred spirits, Bentley knows Wayne Burnett’s Daggers will be just as desperate to get off to a winning start however.

He said: “Dagenham is a tough place to go, we all know that.

“They’re a good side who finished last season strongly. They lost one or two in the summer but brought one or two quality additions in too.

“Just recently they signed Jamie Cureton, the veteran striker, who knows where the back of the net is so he’s one player we’ll have to watch.

“They’ve had an up and down pre-season in terms of results and have one or two injuries,

“(Rhys) Murphy the striker is out so it could be a good time to play them. But we know all too well what’s happened at Dagenham over the years.

“We’ve won one or two and we obviously lost the play-off game 6-0. We’re evenly matched. People used to say we were the Dagenham of the north and they were the Morecambe of the south.

“We’re looking forward to the game and hopefully we can get off to that all important winning start.”

Apart from the injury to defender Ryan Edwards, who is set to miss six to eight weeks after finger surgery, Bentley has an almost fully fit squad.

And having made the squad deeper over the summer the Shrimps boss has plenty to ponder.

He said: “The squad are ready and raring to go, they’re all looking well and fit and strong.

“It’s pleasing that I’ve got the headache of who to play.

“We only named six on the bench for the first game of last season against Wycombe and then against Wolves we had loads of youth team players on the bench.

“One game after that we named five on the bench but I don’t think that’s going to be the case this year.”

More than anything however, Bentley just can’t wait to get going.

He said: “Once three or four friendlies are out of the way and the players feel like they’ve got their touch back then everyone’s looking forward to the start of the season.

“Everyone gets excited, I couldn’t sleep last night.

“So I think you have that little nervous edge but it’s great to be back involved and the first game of the season is like a cup final with everyone desperate to get off to a winning start.

“We know Dagenham will be up and at it and we’ve got to make sure that we are as well.”