Talking Points: Morecambe go down to opening day defeat at Hartlepool

Barry Roche saves at his near post against Hartlepool.  Picture: Joe Spence.
Barry Roche saves at his near post against Hartlepool. Picture: Joe Spence.
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Reporter Adam Lord looks at what we learned as The Shrimps went down 2-0 at Hartlepool on the opening day of the new League 2 season.

Losing Murphy will be a big blow

The highs and lows of football have been acutely summed up for Peter Murphy in the last few days.

Named Morecambe captain on Thursday the former Accrington man lasted less than 10 minutes before a knee injury brought a halt to his debut at Hartlepool on Saturday.

All fingers are crossed at the Globe Arena that the problem won’t be as bad as feared after the midfielder left Victoria Park on crutches and wearing a knee brace.

It extends a luckless run with injuries for The Shrimps who have lost key men at the start of each of the last three seasons, Murphy following in the footsteps of Jack Redshaw and Barry Roche.

New-look squad looks to have strength in depth

The only consolation if Murphy is ruled out long-term is that The Shrimps squad looks deep this season.

Andy Fleming, so often the first name on the teamsheet during his time at the club, was an unusued substitute on Saturday.

Jim Bentley was also without injured new signings Tom Barkhuizen and Adam Dugdale but looked to have options aplenty from a bench that included new boys Jack Ryan and Shaun Miller.

It’s too early to judge them after their fleeting debuts but Bentley certainly looks to have much-needed variety in attack.

Roche is back and looks as good as ever

One welcome return to competitive action on Saturday was that of Barry Roche.

After using six goalkeepers last season it was reassuring to see a familiar face between the sticks.

Despite fears about his return. Roche looked as solid and commanding as ever on Saturday and could do nothing about either goal.

Don’t underestimate his leadership qualities at the back either.

Shrimps moved the ball around nicely

Morecambe struggled at times to find their preferred flowing football on Saturday.

But when they did, especially early in the second half, it was clear they could trouble a more direct Pools side.

In the likes of Jamie Devitt and Lee Molyneux they have gifted footballers who can wreak havoc in behind what was a lone front man, Paul Mullin, on Saturday.

Both however will want to add more goals to their game, something Bentley is banking on, having missed good chances on Saturday.

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