Morecambe boss Jim Bentley ready to defy the odds once again ahead of double date at Mansfield Town

Jim Bentley.
Jim Bentley.

Morecambe boss Jim Bentley will be looking for an immediate response to their defeat on the opening day when they visit Mansfield Town on Saturday.

The Shrimps travel to the One Call Stadium twice in four days with Saturday’s league game followed by Tuesday’s Carabao Cup tie.

Bentley’s players make the trip, looking to atone for their loss against Grimsby Town at the Globe Arena last Saturday.

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A disappointing performance saw the Shrimps beaten 2-0 in a game where they only forced the opposing keeper into one relatively routine save.

Ironically, having switched pre-season friendlies against Everton’s youngsters and Accrington Stanley to ensure their pitch was in perfect condition, Bentley believed the playing surface did not help his team.

He said: “Two of our best pre-season performances were Everton away and Accrington – short pitches with some zip. I don’t think we got our passing game going against Grimsby.

“Whether it was because of that, I don’t know – it plays into the hands of direct teams.

“We’ve proven in pre-season that we have technically gifted players and I don’t think that the pitch helped us – it looked long.

“I don’t want to use that as an excuse. I’ll take responsibility and I picked the team.

“We didn’t get going as much as we could. We’ve proven in pre-season we can play good football.

“There are three games in the next week, so there is plenty of football to come.

“There were some good performances from players getting up to speed, which is a positive.”

The Shrimps are in their 13th season as an EFL club but are yet again tipped to struggle.

“Each year people say they expect this side to do well and another will struggle,” Bentley said.

“You wouldn’t have said last year, looking at Notts County at the start of the year and they finished the league, they would be a side relegated and nearly going out of business.

“It’s hard to predict but the game’s like that at any level.

“We expect it to be difficult again but we expect any team we come up against to think that Morecambe aren’t a pushover – and we embrace the challenge.

“There might be ups and downs; we will win a few, lose a few but, hopefully, we will win more than we lose and have a good cup run.

“I don’t look too far ahead though and I can’t start thinking about Christmas or anything like that.

“People say, ‘What do you think about the fixtures?’ but I couldn’t tell you who we have after Mansfield.”

He added: “I can understand why people on the outside say what they do.

“They won’t look at how we finished the season, they say ‘Morecambe have the smallest budget, the smallest average attendance; let’s have them as the favourites to go down.’

“It doesn’t bother me, I like upsetting people who think they can rock up and turn us over.

“We’re here on merit, we deserve to be here; we’ve been here longer than other clubs.

“It’s a work in progress but I’m sure, with what we have available, we’re capable of winning games.”