Jim Bentley: Morecambe have had to ‘evolve’ this season

Richie Bennett has three goals for Morecambe
Richie Bennett has three goals for Morecambe
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Jim Bentley believes injuries have forced the Shrimps to ‘evolve’ from an attacking perspective.

The Morecambe boss has used Vadaine Oliver, A-Jay Leitch-Smith, Joe Piggott, Jason Oswell, Richie Bennett, Aaron Collins, Rhys Oates, Liam Mandeville, Kevin Ellison, Piero Mingoia, Carlos Mendes Gomes and Sam Dalby in the attacking positions this season.

Injuires have accounted for Oliver and Leitch-Smith in the second half of the season, Oswell was sold to Wrexham after struggling to make an impression, while Piggott barely featured after joining on loan from Wigan Athletic.

The absences of Oliver and Leitch-Smith saw Bennett come in on loan from Carlisle United and Collins sign until the end of the season.

Both have repaid Bentley’s faith with three goals in helping the Shrimps pull away from the relegation places.

“We’ve had to evolve as a team,” Bentley said.

“Going back to the start of the season, we looked good and we got clapped off when we lost.

“Big Vadaine was doing well, Leitch-Smith was getting goals but, because of injuries, we’ve had to bring players in.

“Sometimes you need that injection of positivity and that’s why it’s important you get your recruitment right.

“Richie Bennett has come in and got three goals, we brought in Aaron Collins and he’s been among the goals, while Rhys Oates has come out and gone back in.

“Kevin Ellison is among the goals and Piero Mingoia has been efficient up and down the side, hard working, creating opportunities, so we’re looking alright.”

With 10 games of their campaign left, the Shrimps have an almost identical record to how they finished last season in terms of goals scored and conceded.

Rewind 10 months and Bentley’s players survived relegation on goal difference after scoring 41 and conceding 56 in 46 league games.

This time around, they have scored 40 and conceded 56 with a quarter of the season still to go.

Bentley admitted: “Last year there were probably times we were going into games hoping to keep a clean sheet because it’s the best chance of getting something from it because we didn’t really look threatening.

“I have to say, every game this season, we’ve looked like scoring; we’ve had opportunities – more so in some games than others – but we aren’t bad going forward.

“We are capable of scoring goals but we just haven’t got that end product.

“The front line has evolved more down to injuries but, fair play, they have come in, done their job, we’re scoring goals at home, and everyone is happy, so happy days.”