Morecambe boss Jim Bentley has vowed to help Andy Fleming in any way he can after the midfielder’s shock retirement.
The 31-year-old announced the end of his career on Saturday, hours before the Shrimps’ pre-season win at Bamber Bridge.
The after-effects of the knee injury which wrecked most of last season proved decisive in Fleming’s decision.
It meant last Tuesday’s friendly loss at FC United proved to be his final game for the club after nine years with the Shrimps, in which time he scored the first goal at the Globe Arena.
Fleming watched from the sidelines at Bamber Bridge as Cole Stockton netted twice for Morecambe, who are at Barrow on Tuesday before a behind closed doors game at Everton’s U23s on Saturday.
“I’m really gutted for him,” Bentley said of his one-time team-mate.
“We will have to respect it but we will do what we can for him.
“He’s been a great servant for nine years and he would have been looking at a testimonial next year.
“He was going to play with a bit of pain anyway because of the nature of the injury but, over the summer, he came back and the pain had got much worse to the point that he couldn’t sleep.
“He’s gone to have a scan, had an injection, and not much more can be done.
“I think it was evident at FC United that he couldn’t get around the pitch – and he needs that mobility.
“He will get our full backing and it was great to see him; he will go down in history as one of our best midfielders.”
Fleming’s retirement leaves Bentley with another hole to fill ahead of the new season.
Andrew Tutte missed Saturday’s game with a sore hamstring but is expected to be fit this weekend.
However, having wanted to bring in extra forward players, another midfielder is also on the Shrimps’ shopping list.
Bentley said: “We still need another couple of players in.
“We need to replace a central midfielder and ideally, bring in one or two more forwards.
“Then, we’ll maybe see what we have left and maybe have a look around.”