Jim Bentley admits contract talks with his players have played a part in Morecambe’s disappointing end to the season.
The Shrimps have only won one of their last nine games going into the final day trip to Southend on Saturday.
And while the Morecambe boss is extremely disappointed his side’s season has petered out he conceded off-the-field factors have had a big say in his side’s run-in.
Bentley said: “There’s a of things that have happened recently which doesn’t help.
“Nick Fenton leaving was a massive blow for everyone.
“He’s a big character in the changing room and a big player for us and once he got his injury and turned down the contract offer that can have an affect on everyone.
“Obviously the little bits and pieces we’ve had going on, speaking to players about next season and a few of them being advised they won’t be with us, mean it’s been a difficult couple of weeks and I think that’s reflected on the performances and certainly the results.
“We didn’t want it be like that and wanted to finish strongly but for one reason or another we haven’t done it.”
Bentley also confirmed that the contract talks would result in Fenton not being the only player he wants to keep leaving the club.
He said: “I said Nick Fenton wouldn’t be the only one and that’s proven to be the case.
“I’m talking all the time with players at the moment. Until it’s 100 per cent done and dusted I’d rather not discuss it but it’s not looking good with regards to some players who I want to keep.
“Unfortunately with our financial situation they’ll be leaving and that’s the way it is.
“I’ve got a budget to get to and I’ve got to make sure we bring the right players in to replace the players that will be leaving.”
Another factor in the Shrimps’ disappointing end to the campaign has been injuries and suspensions with Bentley down to the bare bones for the trip to Essex.
He said: “We’re really stretched.
“Fenton’s left the club, Haining’s been injured, Parrish is injured, McCready’s had an operation, there’s one or two illnesses in the camp, Chris Doyle’s now suspended after getting sent off last week and Kevin Ellison’s suspension came through on Monday for his goal celebration against Rotherham.
“It’s difficult but that’s the challenge and I’m just thankful we’re not going into the last game of the season needing points to stay up because with what we’ve got available at the minute it’d be very difficult.
“Everyone who’s fit will travel and we’ll see what we’ve go to go with.”