Morecambe boss has one eye on Grant ahead of Dale clash

Kevin Ellison protests as Rochdale's Bobby Grant holds his face following a clash between the two during the FA Cup tie at the Globe Arena earlier in the season.
Kevin Ellison protests as Rochdale's Bobby Grant holds his face following a clash between the two during the FA Cup tie at the Globe Arena earlier in the season.
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Jim Bentley believes Bobby Grant is the man his side have to watch when Rochdale visit the Globe Arena on Saturday.

The former Accrington forward returns from a four-match ban for the League 2 clash having made quite an impression when The Dale last visited the resort in the first round of the FA Cup in October.

The 22-year-old was involved in an ugly exchange with Kevin Ellison in the first-half of the game, Morecambe fans feeling he went to ground easily following a coming together, before putting on a vintage display of wide play that dragged his side back into the game and forced a replay which The Shrimps went on to win.

Bentley believes his side will also have to be wary of “new manager syndrome”, with opposing boss Keith Hill only a month into his Spotland return.

The Morecambe boss said: “Rochdale have got a new manager in Keith Hill who’s an ex-player here.

“He’s made some good signings, they’re a good side and we expect another difficult game.

“Any side that comes here it’s tough, the league suggests that because it’s so tight.

“And with new manager syndrome, a couple of new signings and Bobby Grant, a massive player for them, returning from a four-game suspension, it’ll be a very tough match.”

After seeing his side drop two points against Bristol Rovers at the Globe Arena on Saturday and then lose at Burton on Tuesday night Bentley believes The Shrimps will have to go on a near faultless run to reach the play-offs.

As a result, his eyes are firmly set on simply improving on last season’s 15th-placed finish.

He said: “It’ll be a big ask but I think a couple of years ago we won something like our last six games to sneak into the play-offs so it can happen with it being so tight.

“But there’s a lot of good sides around us and teams like Bradford are concentrating on the league again and I’d expect them to kick on with games in hand.

“We will have to go on a very good run to get into the play-offs and likewise will have to go on a very poor run to get sucked back down.

“We want to finish as high up the league as we can and our first target is 50 points and we’re four points away from that.

“Then we want to beat last season’s mark and finish higher than we did, so we’ll be giving it our best shot in every game.”

Andy Wright returns from suspension for the game against The Dale with Andy Parrish set to miss the next two weeks with a thigh injury picked up in the draw with Bristol Rovers.