Returning Roche faces fight to be Morecambe number one

Barry Roche. Picture: Matt Rushton
Barry Roche. Picture: Matt Rushton
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Barry Roche may be back from suspension but the long-serving Morecambe goalkeeper faces a battle for The Shrimps number one shirt between now and the end of the season.

The popular Irishman, who along with Kevin Ellison signed a new one-year contract this week, is available to face Barnet at the Globe Arena on Saturday after serving a one-game ban but isn’t guaranteed to come straight back in for Kieran O’Hara, the Manchester United loanee having impressed against Leyton Orient and Plymouth.

Kieran O'Hara enters the field at Leyton Orient after Barry Roche's red card.

Kieran O'Hara enters the field at Leyton Orient after Barry Roche's red card.

Despite two defeats O’Hara saved a penalty with his first touch at Leyton Orient with a string of saves nearly handing The Shrimps an unlikely point.

The 19-year-old then picked up from where he left off on his home debut against Plymouth.

Boss Jim Bentley said: “He’s done well.

“Given the situation he came into in the Leyton Orient game he adapted well.

“Saving a penalty straight away helped him and he went from strength to strength.

“He’s got things that he needs to work, he’s got good strengths and we did say that we’d give him some match time between now and the end of the season.

“It’s about having a look at him because who knows what the future holds for him at Manchester United but we like his character and he’s good in the squad.

“He’s one player that we’ll have a look at with regards to coming in and pushing Barry Roche because he’s certainly doing that now.

“He hasn’t got Barry’s experience, Barry’s stronger in certain areas, but Kieran’s done well when he’s come in.

“Whether it’s this weekend or not he’ll certainly get more game time.”

Bentley has hinted he could shuffle the pack between now and the end of the season but insists the main focus is on winning, his side having picked up just one victory in their last 13 games.

The Shrimps boss said: “I don’t want to take the eye off the ball and want to win every game.

“But there’s not much between the squad. If you replace a (Jamie) Devitt with a (Aaron) Wildig, or a (Alan) Goodall with a (Alex) Kenyon, or a (Andy) Parrish with a (Chris) Doyle, it’s much of a muchness.

“There’s a nice round, level squad. There’s people who have had better seasons that others but we’ve got people who are on contract next year that we want to push.

“There’s players who maybe won’t be with us next season, players in good form and some out of form.

“We’ve got to look at the opposition and how we can influence games so there’s a lot to look at to make sure we get the balance right and find a winning formula.”

Alex Kenyon will be available to face Barnet after having his red card against Plymouth rescinded. Charlie Bailey could also come into the squad after being recalled from his loan spell at Kendal. 
Adam Dugdale is still out with a foot injury and there is some illness going around the dressing room.