From a dogs' home to the Premier League? Jim Bentley looking forward to Tom Barkhuizen reunion as Preston host Morecambe

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Morecambe boss Jim Bentley is looking forward to meeting up with Tom Barkhuizen when they meet Preston North End in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup tie.

The Shrimps head to Deepdale to meet Alex Neil’s side and a possible reunion with Barkhuizen, who left the Globe Arena during Morecambe’s ill-fated 2016/17 season.

Tom Barkhuizen in action against Morecambe back in 2017

Tom Barkhuizen in action against Morecambe back in 2017

With the club’s players having gone without wages, the 25-year-old’s contract was cancelled, which allowed him to sign a pre-contract with North End who, in turn, paid Morecambe a compensation fee.

“It’s great to see Tom doing well but I’ve seen him on the motorway a couple of times and he’s gone a bit flasher than the BMW he used to have!” joked Bentley.

“First and foremost, it’s been fantastic to see him develop, do well and score goals.

“I’m disappointed in the manner we lost him but I look at him as a person who was thinking of giving the game up after leaving Blackpool.

Barkhuizen has become a key man at Deepdale since his move from the Globe Arena

Barkhuizen has become a key man at Deepdale since his move from the Globe Arena

“He was like someone in a dogs’ home who no-one believed in but we stroked him, cut his claws and hair and got him going.

“He’s now shown what a pedigree player he is and it’d be great to see him in the Premier League, hopefully with Preston.”

The Shrimps make the trip seeking their first goal - let alone win - of the season following defeats to Crewe Alexandra and Exeter City.

Although Bentley hinted at some changes given the Shrimps’ fixture list this month, he wants those who do start to give a good account of themselves.

“We don’t know what Preston will do in terms of resting one or two or going for it,” he said.

“However, they’re a fantastic side and we’ll go there trying to express ourselves and give it our all.

“It’s a massive game against Championship opposition but I want the lads to go there and, win, lose or draw, come away with their heads held high.”