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Jim Bentley’s pitch battle after Morecambe’s game against Chesterfield is called off

Morecambe boss Jim Bentley. Picture: Clean Sheet Media
Morecambe boss Jim Bentley. Picture: Clean Sheet Media
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Morecambe boss Jim Bentley was a frustrated man after last Saturday’s game with Chesterfield was postponed.

Last week’s poor weather meant the game at the Globe Arena was called off on Saturday morning.

It was not a huge surprise given the poor condition of the pitch after defeat against Mansfield Town a fortnight earlier – let along the frozen pitch which saw the reserves’ midweek game against York City also called off.

Given the importance of the game, pitting a Morecambe side 20th in League Two against the second-bottom Spireites, it meant the Shrimps manager was somewhat rueful.

“It’s a home game with an opportunity for three points but it is what is,” Bentley said.

“I was on the pitch on Friday and it wasn’t looking great then but, with the rain we had on Friday, the rest of Saturday morning and the prediction for more in the 
afternoon, then it was always inevitable.

“The pitch is in poor nick though; it’s not a great pitch and it’s frustrating because you obviously need a good pitch to play good football on.

“We can’t do anything about it; it’s not fit to play on so we have to take it on the chin and prepare for Forest Green next Saturday.”

Preparation is easier said than done, however, given the club’s well documented problems with their training facilities.

Training sessions on grass have proved the exception rather than the norm, though, and the alternative poses problems of its own for the Shrimps’ squad.

Bentley admitted: “Training has been the biggest problem for us and has been for some time.

“We have only been able to train on grass at Morecambe High twice now in getting on for five months.

“We have been on the pitch once or twice in that time and once, the other day, at Wigan.

“Other than that, it’s Morecambe and Lancaster College but we have a couple of players who can’t go on an artificial pitch.

“Players like Kevin Ellison and Barry Roche can’t go on it and it takes its toll on players.

“You get lads dropping out with bad backs and sore Achilles because the surface is quite unforgiving if you aren’t used to it.

“A young lad playing on it is OK because they are used to it but other players who are used to training on grass come to us, using an artificial pitch, and they are only alright for a couple of weeks.

“Now it’s half-term this week and places are booked up with kids soccer schools and things like that.

“It’s always a battle but, as ever, we’ll keep doing what we can and we’ll do it to the best of our ability.”