Bentley readies Morecambe for Wimbledon battle

Andy Fleming is back from suspension on Saturday. Picture: Matt Rushton

Andy Fleming is back from suspension on Saturday. Picture: Matt Rushton

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Morecambe boss Jim Bentley knows his side will have a battle on their hands to end their 10-game winless run in League 2 on Saturday.

The Shrimps host play-off chasing AFC Wimbledon at the Globe Arena with Bentley readying his troops for a real physical test as they look to complete the double over the Dons after a 5-2 win at Kingsmeadow earlier in the season.

Neil Ardley’s side, seventh in the table, will be without big front man Adebayo Akinfenwa but have plenty of other attacking options that The Shrimps need to be wary of.

Bentley said: “Wimbledon are a big side.

“They lost Akinfenwa on Tuesday night after he was sent off and they’ve got another injury to one of their strikers (Tom) Elliott.

“They’ve still got (Ade) Azeez and Lyle Taylor who has been one of the best strikers in the division this season.

“They’ll be a handful. They’ve got physical players all over and caused Bristol Rovers problems from set plays the other day.

“We’re going to have to be up and at it and be strong.

“But hopefully we can do our stuff, create chances and score goals.”

Bentley hopes his side can build on their point at Crawley, a 1-1 draw last Saturday, which saw The Shrimps end a run of five straight defeats.

He said: “It’s all tightened up a bit.

“That point put us a bit further clear of the bottom two so it’s 11 points with 11 games to play.

“In football things can soon change though. We want to get the points on the board sooner rather than later.

“We have drifted down the league and it’s another big game for us. They’re all big games.

“The spirit amongst the lads is really good and they’re trying their best. Hopefully we can turn a corner.”

The Shrimps will be boosted by the return of Andy Fleming who has served a three-game ban after being sent off for pulling the hair of Bristol Rovers’ Stuart Sinclair.

Bentley said: “He’s probably been our best player since the turn of the year.

“Fleming’s one of those players where some of his work goes unnoticed.

“People will say he should chip in with this many goals or he’s expected to do that.

“But he’s very robust, uses his body well, he passes well, he tackles well, he gets around the pitch and competes and is one of the fittest players at the club.

“He’s a good all-round footballer and it’s good to have him back.

“He’ll definitely come back into contention.”

Aaron Wildig is a doubt as he continues to battle a persistent hamstring problem while Adam Dugdale is still a couple of weeks from a return after injuring a tendon in his foot.