Bentley plots a hot reception for mate

Mark Hughes

Mark Hughes

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Morecambe manager Jim Bentley is looking forward to hosting an old friend tomorrow.

The Shrimps will entertain Bentley’s old Conference chum Chris Wilder and his Northampton Town side at the Globe Arena.

Bentley’s men are still unbeaten in League Two on home soil and after back-to-back defeats against Wimbeldon and Mansfield, he is happy to be back in Lancashire.

He said: “I don’t think we played well against Mansfield but against Wimbledon we deserved something.

“We created good chances and on another day we could easily have scored one or two – it’s disappointing and it takes the wind out of your sails.

“But we’ve been decent at home this season and it’s another tough game against big opposition.

“It’s good to be back in front of our home fans and hopefully we can get back to winning ways.”

Morecambe are still fifth in the League Two table and Bentley is wary of pal Wilder’s know-how. But he is keen to take advantage of the Cobblers’ inconsistency.

He said: “Their squad is very big and probably the most experienced in the league.

“They’ve invested – John-Joe O’Toole was Bristol Rovers’ best player last year.

“Marc Richards has been one of the best League Two centre forwards for the last couple of years.

“They’ve signed Ryan Cresswell from Fleetwood, they have Joel Byrom on loan from PNE and they’ve got a good blend of experience in Chris Hackett and youth in Ivan Toney, who is definitely going to go on to a bigger stage.

“I know Chris Wilder very well – since the Conference days when he was at Halifax. He’s a great fella. I’ve got a lot of respect for him.

“They’re a big club and rightly they were one of the favourites but they’re very up and down at the moment and hopefully we can catch them on a bad day.”

Injury doubts Andy Fleming and Alan Goodall may figure tomorrow but Jamie Devitt is set to miss out. But captain Mark Hughes may start against his former club.

And Bentley is pleased with the skipper’s attitude.

He said: “It was a very difficult decision to leave him out last week.

“But I’ve got to be fair to the other lads, in the two league games against Cheltenham and Plymouth Andy Parrish and Ryan Edwards did well.

“Hughesy took it in the right manner He’s doing all he can to get back in the team and that’s what we want. We want competition – no one’s guaranteed their place.”