Shrimps’ players need to scrap away

Jim Bentley. Picture: B&O PRESS PHOTO.
Jim Bentley. Picture: B&O PRESS PHOTO.
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Jim Bentley believes Morecambe’s players need to learn how to win scrappily if they are to push on next season.

The Shrimps’ relegation battle in 2017/18 can be pointed firmly at their struggles going forward.

No side won fewer than the Shrimps’ nine games in League Two last season, while their tally of 41 goals from 46 matches was also another league low.

Having previously acknowledged that Morecambe’s attacking play had let them down, Bentley also pointed to a lack of scruffy wins, churned out when backs were against the wall.

“In the past, we’ve had a couple of smash and grabs where we’ve won 1-0 or 2-1 and had a little lucky break along the way,” the manager said.

“This year, I haven’t come away from a game thinking that we’ve played badly but we’ve got a win and I’ll take it.

“We went down to 10 men against Crawley when they won 1-0 but that was a smash and grab on their part.

“You look at losing against Crewe at our place when they won it with a late wonder strike.

“We had the game at Forest Green where we lost and hit the bar twice as well.

“These are the little things you need sometimes; look at the game against Stevenage when we were winning and their lad (Fraser Franks) scores the goal he does.

“For a centre-half who hasn’t scored all season, it’s a freak ocurrence which was the difference between three points and one point.

“I’d just like to have had a game where we we haven’t played well but we’ve still managed to come away with a smash and grab result.”

Off the field – at least if the bookies are anything to go by – the likelihood of Bentley leaving the Globe Arena to take charge of Carlisle United seem to be receding.

Having been one of the the favourites to replace Keith Curle a week ago, Bentley has been overtaken in the betting by David Hopkin, Stuart McCall, Neil McDonald and Matt Jansen.

However, the Cumbrian club remains tightlipped on any developments as Hopkin, who had become the fancied candidate, has been linked with other roles.

One thing which is definite, however, is the date of the Shrimps’ annual trip to Bamber Bridge.

They make the trip to the Sir Tom Finney Stadium on Tuesday, July 10 (7.30pm) in a match which has previously allowed fans an early look at some trialists and new signings.

Last year saw the Shrimps come from a goal down in their first pre-season outing to get the better of Brig 2-1 thanks to goals in each half from Ben Hedley and Garry Thompson.