Shrimps boss hails team’s attitude

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Morecambe boss Jim Bentley praised his players’ attitude following a difficult week for everyone at the Globe Arena.

The Shrimps’ squad (pictured) enjoyed a less than ideal build-up to Sunday’s FA Cup first round tie with Coventry City after the revelation players and staff had not been paid wages due a week earlier.

Although new owner Diego Lemos issued a statement in a bid to reassure everyone that outstanding monies would hopefully be paid this week, it remains to be seen if the hold-up drags into another week.

If they were worried, however, Bentley’s players didn’t show it with a fine display against Coventry, ending in a 1-1 draw and a replay at the Ricoh Arena next week.

Whoever wins will then travel to Cambridge United or Dover Athletic on December 3 following Monday night’s draw for the second round.

“It’s been a very tough week,” Bentley acknowledged.

“It’s a test of my leadership but, although the situation has come to light now, there are a lot of things that have happened over the last 18 months to two years.

“All credit must go to the directors that have kept us afloat and out of trouble.

“This has happened now – for whatever reason – but hopefully the future is bright and this is only a little blip.

“Our players aren’t blessed to be paid like Premier League or Championship players; if their wages aren’t there on time then there are problems.

“What I will say, however, is that the players’ attitude has been absolutely spot-on in respect of everything that has gone on. They have been superb and they have taken that attitude and put it into the performance against Coventry.”

One way of possibly avoiding a similar situation would be to sell a player outside of the present transfer window.

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor admitted on Saturday there was every possibility something along those lines could happen – but they were awaiting a response from the Football League.

If that scenario was to present itself, then the likeliest departure would be that of Tom Barkhuizen.

The Visitor understands that the Shrimps’ wide man, who was especially impressive against Coventry, is on the radar of at least one Championship club and could be the likeliest player to head through the exit door.

It’s not a scenario which particularly pleases Bentley, not least because he also sees loanees Alex Whitmore, James Jennings, Jack Dunn, Cole Stockton and Ntumba Massanka heading back to their parent clubs in January.

“It’s unsettling but it’s one of those things,” Bentley said of any possible player departure.

“I don’t really want it to happen because we’re stretched as a squad as it is.

“However, that’s the way it is so we have to crack on and see what develops.”

The Visitor approached the Football League for a response as to the possibility of the Shrimps selling a player outside of the transfer window.

They confirmed that a player could be sold now but would not be able to feature for his new club until January.