Bentley is eyeing progress

Jim Bentley (Picture: Matt Rushton)
Jim Bentley (Picture: Matt Rushton)

Morecambe boss Jim Bentley has his eyes on another prize tonight when the Shrimps conclude their Checkatrade Trophy group stage.

They welcome Bradford City to the Globe Arena for the third and final match in the competition’s initial phase, knowing nothing other than a victory will see them make the last 32.

The much-derided competition revamp, which replaced the former Johnstone’s Paint Trophy this season, has seen the Shrimps in a four-team group with Bury and Stoke City.

Having lost 4-1 to Bury in August, their second game brought a 3-1 win against a Stoke Under-21s side featuring Charlie Adam, Phil Bardsley and Mame Biram Diouf.

Tonight’s outing now sees Bentley’s players meeting League One opposition for the second time this week following Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Coventry City in the 
FA Cup.

“Again it will be a tough game against higher league opposition,” the manager said.

“They lost in the FA Cup against Accrington Stanley on Saturday so maybe it’s a 
good time for us to be playing them.

“It’s a big game for us and we want to get into the 
next round but it’s been a difficult group.

“We’re still in with a chance and we want to do well, not just for the financial side of it but it’s a chance for everyone to get one step closer to Wembley – which is what we all want.”

Bentley will have to make at least one change from the side which drew with Coventry at the weekend.

Full-back James Jennings is cup-tied following his goalscoring appearance for Cheltenham Town in their defeat against Blackpool at the end of August.

However, he will be able to recall Ryan Edwards after the central defender was suspended at the weekend.

In his absence, Dean Winnard returned to the starting XI and opened the scoring at the Globe Arena.

Kevin Ellison’s participation is more doubtful following an injury he sustained in the Shrimps’ home defeat against Exeter City a week-and-a-half ago.

“Ryan has served his suspension now, while Kevin is touch and go,” Bentley admitted.

“He was injured in the collision when the Exeter keeper came off and his ankle has been black and blue all week.”