Morecambe boss Jim Bentley is confident Shrimps number one Barry Roche will get some game time in pre-season but won’t be rushing the goalkeeper back into action.
The popular Dubliner, who signed a new two-year contract at the end of last season, is yet to play in the build-up to the new season as he battles a rare problem with a muscle below his hip.
It was an injury that Bentley admitted physio Simon Farnworth had never seen before and has resulted in Andreas Arestidou featuring prominently between the sticks in the Shrimps’ pre-season friendlies.
The Morecambe manager however says Roche’s condition is improving every day and he could feature either at Burscough on Tuesday night or in the Shrimps’ final friendly against Kilmarnock at the Globe Arena on Saturday.
Bentley said: “It’s a strange one that the physio (Farnworth) has never seen.
“He’s spoken to the doctor at Man United too and he’s only ever seen it once.
“It’s an unbelievable place to pull a muscle. He hasn’t done it kicking it’s probably diving on the hard ground since we’ve come back.
“It’s like an impingement in a muscle just below his hip which you probably use most when you stand up after sitting in a chair.
“Obviously a goalkeeper does that kind of movement a lot.
“We can’t push him. I know the season is just around the corner but if he pulls it again then we’ve pushed him too soon.
“We’re just slowly, gradually getting him up to where we think he needs to be.
“Every day he’s progressing another five or 10 per cent and he’s doing alright.”
Jamie Devitt and Marcus Marshall also missed out against Preston on Friday night but like Roche, Bentley is confident they will feature again before the season opener at Dagenham & Redbridge on August 9.
He said: “Dev’s got a bit of a hamstring problem.
“It’s a little bit tight and we didn’t want to risk him but he’s done some running and we’ll see how it goes.
“It could be Tuesday when he features, or Saturday but I’m sure it will be sooner rather than later.
“It’s the same with Marcus Marshall.”
On trial striker Paul Mullin also didn’t feature in the Lancashire derby but Bentley didn’t rule out a move for the former Liverpool and Huddersfield man with chairman Peter McGuigan having given his manager the green light to further strengthen the squad if the right player becomes available.
Bentley said: “We’re just seeing what’s what at the moment.
“He’s (Mullin) obviously looking for a club and there’s a few clubs that want to have a look at him, and we’ve had a look.
“It might be something that we can do but we’ll see.
“You’re always looking and the chairman’s given us the okay to do something if we can find someone to improve us.
“It’s got to be the right one, we’re not just going to sign anyone for signing’s sake.
“We have looked at one or two and it hasn’t happened for whatever reason but we keep looking.”
The Shrimps’ game at Evo-Stik First Division North side Burscough is a 7.45pm kick-off.
Elsewhere, a young Shrimps side won 2-0 at Wigan Robin Park on Saturday.