Bentley: ‘Now we’re looking up not down’

Morecambe manager Jim Bentley congratulates Jack Redshaw after his match winning goal against Bristol Rovers.
Morecambe manager Jim Bentley congratulates Jack Redshaw after his match winning goal against Bristol Rovers.
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Morecambe boss Jim Bentley believes his side have their eyes firmly set on the top of League 2 ahead of a busy festive period.

The Shrimps picked up their first home win since October 5 with a 2-1 win over Bristol Rovers at the Globe Arena on Saturday meaning they sit ninth in the table ahead of the trip to fifth-placed Scunthorpe this Saturday, December 21.

And with the visits of Fleetwood on Boxing Day and Hartlepool on October 29 to come Bentley thinks his players can concentrate on the sides above them, rather than peering over their shoulders.

He said: “The league is that tight you’re always thinking, if only.

“If only we took one of the chances we created against York, if only Drummy (Stewart Drummond) put the header away against Cheltenham but it is a fine dividing line.

“We’re looking above us now after the little patchy spell.

“We’re positive going into the next game and hope we can claw one or two of the other teams above us back again and close that gap even further.

“While we were struggling you tend to a little bit of both ways and think what if but we got the three points on Saturday so hopefully we can continue to build on that and look forwards.”

The narrow win over Rovers was another come-from-behind victory, sealed this time by Jack Redshaw’s 86th-minute strike and Bentley admits the striker’s return from hip surgery has made a real difference to his side.

The Morecambe boss said: “Jack’s like a new signing for us.

“We’ve said over the last year Big Kev (Ellison) and Jack are our biggest threats.

“This year we had little Jack out and Kev was knocking a few in and then obviously the first game little Jack was back against Mansfield he scores and Kevin Ellison scores the winner but fractures his eye socket so we lose him.

“It’ll be good when we get them both back together again but (Padraig) Amond’s chipping in and getting his goals, big Jack (Sampson) is leading the line well and Marcus Marshall has been injured so we’ve got good options up there.

“But Jack for me looks stronger, has worked really hard, is a fantastic professional, has looked after himself and never had a drink in his life.

“We know he’ll get goals but I’m just pleased with the work he’s put in.

“As a manager putting him back in after a long lay off you’re thinking are you going to get an hour out of him or 70 (minutes) out of him but to be fair to him he’s lasted 90 plus minutes in the last couple of games.

“He got all the pats on the back on Saturday but it was certainly a team effort.”

Bentley hopes it is a victory that will see plenty of supporters come out and support his side during what is traditionally a great time for football fans.

He said: “We know we need to improve in certain areas if we want to get further up the league,

“But it’s been a difficult few weeks, especially at home, we won at Mansfield and Burton but to get back to winning ways in front of your home supporters that’s what it’s all about.

“They’ve suffered a little bit of late so I’m absolutely made up for them and hopefully as many as they can can travel to Scunthorpe and all have a good Christmas and then we’ll see them back here to get right behind us in the big derby against Fleetwood on Boxing Day.

“There’s loads to be positive about, loads to look forward to but it was important we got the win on Saturday to give us even more confidence heading into the festive period.”

Ryan Williams is expected to be available again for the trip to Scunthorpe after missing the last two games with a hamstring problem.

Alex Kenyon is also set to return from suspension after serving a one-game ban against Bristol Rovers after reaching five bookings.