Sir Bobby Charlton watches on as Morecambe train at Manchester United’s Carrington complex

Manchester United's Carrington Training Ground.
Manchester United's Carrington Training Ground.

Sir Bobby Charlton was an interested observer as Morecambe got some much-needed game time ahead of Portsmouth’s visit to the Globe Arena on Saturday.

The Shrimps played out a 0-0 draw with a Manchester United Under 21 side at the Red Devils’ Carrington training ground on Tuesday with the 1966 World Cup winner amongst those taking in the game.

The friendly, which took place next to a first-team training session, was hastily arranged after the Shrimps’ game at Exeter last weekend was called off.

Morecambe boss Jim Bentley said: “It’s a great facility and we were playing on a pitch where the first team were next door to us.

“Brian McClair and Clayton Blackmore were involved, Bobby Charlton even watched the first half and the backroom staff were stood on a balcony watching the game.

“It was great to rub shoulders with some of the best in the business.

“I’m thankful to Warren Joyce and Les Parry who looked after us there.

“It’s twice that we’ve done it now and it’s a really worthwhile exercise.”

The game was organised out of necessity, with the bad weather meaning the Shrimps are unlikely to be able to train on grass ahead of the game against Pompey.

She said: “We’ve been on astroturf the majority of the last three of four weeks with the bad weather we’ve been having.

“Turner’s Field is under water at the minute so it’s been hard to get on grass.

“With Jack Redshaw having his hip operation, Kevin Ellison has had a hip problem in the past and a couple of others don’t take too kindly to astroturf so they’ve had to do gym work. 
“We were meant to train at Cheltenham on the way down to Exeter and use their training ground but that was under water.

“And obviously with the game being called off I didn’t want to go another full week without being on grass leading up to a big game against Portsmouth.

“The lads who had played the most games played 30 or 45 minutes but the others got 45 to an hour.”

New loan arrival Jamie Devitt got an hour’s playing time under his belt with Ryan Williams also featuring for 20 minutes on his return from injury.

Captain Mark Hughes should also be fit for the Pompey clash after having stitches in his shin while Marcus Marshall remains seven to 10 days away from a return due to a knee problem.