Bentley: We’re starting to look over our shoulder

Morecambe manager Jim Bentley.
Morecambe manager Jim Bentley.
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Morecambe boss Jim Bentley admits his side are looking over their shoulder after dropping into the bottom half of the table for the first time.

The Shrimps travel to promotion-chasing Rochdale on Saturday without a win in their last six.

It is a run that has seen Morecambe drop from challenging at the top of League 2 to 13th, nine points off both the play-offs and the relegation zone.

Bentley said: “Naturally you look over your shoulder.

“When you haven’t won for a few weeks and drop into the bottom half of the table which we have done for the first time this season you start looking at results hoping teams don’t win so they don’t close up on you.

“I think it’s just a natural reaction but it’s in our hands.

“We’ve got the points on the board and we’re right in midtable with 17 games to play and we’ve got to treat every one like a cup final.”

Despite obvious concerns, Bentley insists a patchy run is to be expected and he is confident his side will rise to the challenge of three games in a week against Rochdale, Exeter and Oxford.

He said: “It’s a bit of a sticky spell but even when we were nine or 10 unbeaten and people were talking about the play-offs I knew we were capable of going a few games without a win as well.

“We’ve played some difficult games and we’ve got some to come now.

“Rochdale and Oxford are both pushing for promotion, Exeter away’s a tough one so we’ve got some tasty games coming up.

“But we’ve always risen to the challenge in the past, We’ve had good results away at Southend and Newport and at home to Chesterfield.

“We’ve beaten some of the top sides and hopefully we can do that again and bring this little bit of a sequence to an end.”

But Bentley is under no illusions about how difficult the game at Spotland is going to be.

He said: “We know it’s going to be a tough game.

“After losing their last game at home against Dagenham they won their last match and they’re one of the favourites.

“They’ve got good players all over the park.

“(Scott) Hogan was linked with a move to Peterborough and scored a hat-trick last week so it’s going to be tough.

“They’re one of the teams going for automatic promotion but with regards to ourselves we go there and the pressure is on them.

“Hopefully we can express ourselves, give a good account of ourselves, work hard, and hopefully come away with something.”