Morecambe boss daring to dream of what might be

Morecambe celebrate Lee Molyneux's winner against Grimsby.
Morecambe celebrate Lee Molyneux's winner against Grimsby.

Morecambe boss Jim Bentley heads into tonight’s game with Portsmouth contemplating what might be for the rest of the season.

Saturday’s 1-0 victory against Grimsby Town lifted the Shrimps into 13th place in League Two, only five points off a play-off place.

They also have a game in hand on the vast majority of the teams above them, meaning there could be all to play for in the final two months of the season.

First up, however, is a trip to Fratton Park to face a Portsmouth side lying fourth in the division, three points off automatic promotion and looking to avenge August’s 2-0 loss at the Globe Arena.

The match with Pompey is followed by a trip to Blackpool with Bentley believing the pressure is off his side.

“I hope Portsmouth do well because they should be at a higher level,” he said.

“That’s a big game for us and it’s a mouthwatering proposition because the pressure isn’t on us, it’s on Portsmouth and Blackpool.

“They are massive names at this level with their squad sizes, so everything is stacked against us.

“However, we’ve put ourselves in a position where we can have a right good go and then we’re looking at the last quarter of the season and thinking we have to play the four worst away teams in the division at home.”

The transformation at the Globe Arena has been incredible since Christmas, with the Shrimps having only lost one of their last 10 matches.

After a truly awful autumn which saw Bentley’s players set an unwanted club record of seven straight home league defeats, 2017 has been nothing short of spectacular.

Barnet are the only side to have taken three points from the Shrimps so far this year. With 14 games of the season remaining, Morecambe are only one point worse off (45) than they were come the end of last season when they 
finished 21st.

“If you get teams below you then you can start to cut them adrift which we have since the turn of the year,” Bentley said.

“With 19 players, poor training facilities and the lowest budget, I think everyone expects Morecambe will do well to finish third from bottom.

“We had a poor January transfer window when we were only able to bring in Michael Duckworth so, to be where we are, everyone deserves a massive pat on the back.

“The board and the staff have been superb, the players have been great, the fans have been great and the community has got behind the club which is the way it should be.

“The results have been good, and if we put a bit of daylight between us and the teams below us, we can start to catch those teams who are above us in the table.”

Bentley can recall Peter Murphy for tonight’s match after he completed his three-match ban at the weekend.