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Morecambe should can emulate last season’s League Two champions

Craig Stanley (right) joined Michael Twiss, Wayne Curtis and Jim Bentley at Morecambe's 10th anniversary promotion celebrations last year
Craig Stanley (right) joined Michael Twiss, Wayne Curtis and Jim Bentley at Morecambe's 10th anniversary promotion celebrations last year
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Former Shrimps star Craig Stanley believes his former club can follow the lead of their neighbours Accrington Stanley and win promotion to League One.

John Coleman’s men were arguably the story of the season when they stormed to the League Two title in May.

Armed with one of the smallest budgets in the division, Stanley performed a miracle by finishing five points clear of second-placed Luton Town.

While the team from East Lancashire were covering themselves in glory, their county rivals Morecambe – who work on a similar shoestring budget – were struggling at the wrong end of the table.

Indeed, the Shrimps required a point on the final day of the season at Coventry City to secure Football League status for another year.

Stanley was at the Ricoh Arena to watch his old side earn a nervy 0-0 draw, which condemned Barnet to the drop despite their 3-0 home victory over Chesterfield.

Despite the two clubs experiencing contrasting fortunes last season, Stanley reckons Morecambe should feel inspired by what Accrington achieved last season.

After all, it’s not as though the Shrimps have never flirted with promotion to League One themselves.

Stanley was part of the Morecambe squad which finished fourth under manager Sammy McIlroy in 2010.

Although their chastening 7-2 play-off semi-final defeat against Dagenham and Redbridge ended their dream of promotion, Stanley said the club’s great run that season proves that League One is not beyond the realms of possibility for the club.

And with the club’s new owners Jason Whittingham and Colin Goldring now in place at the Globe Arena, Stanley believes manager Jim Bentley, who he played alongside during his time at Morecambe, can take the club to greater heights

“I had five great years at Morecambe,” said 35-year-old Stanley, who this summer signed for local rivals Lancaster City as player-coach.

“I still follow their results; I went to the final game of the season at Coventry to make sure they stayed up.

“I still speak to Jim, who was a player when I was there, Barry Roche, Stewart Drummond.

“I will never forget what I achieved there as a player.

“Getting promoted to the Football League and then what we achieved after that.

“Finishing in the play-offs was a great achievement even if ultimately we didn’t do very well in them.

“Hopefully with the new owners on board, they can get behind Jim.

“We’ve seen the success that Accrington Stanley had this season and I don’t see no reason why Morecambe can’t have another good run.

“I think Jim should be getting a lot of praise for the job he’s done at Morecambe.

“He’s a top man and has been a top manager. You can’t take that away from him.

“I remember speaking to him at the end of last season, you could tell what a relief it was for him that they stayed up.”