Jim Bentley to take patched up Morecambe side to Bristol Rovers

Shaun Miller will start his three-game ban against Bristol Rovers.

Shaun Miller will start his three-game ban against Bristol Rovers.

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Morecambe boss Jim Bentley is confident he’ll be able to put together a starting XI at Bristol Rovers on Saturday but admits he isn’t sure how full his bench will be.

The Shrimps chief was somehow able to crack a smile ahead of the trip the Memorial Stadium as he ran through an ever growing list of absentees.

Luke Conlan’s loan from Burnley ended as he limped off with a hamstring injury in the defeat to Oxford on Saturday, Lee Molyneux already having been replaced with a groin problem immediately after scoring a fine equaliser.

Top scorer Shaun Miller was also sent off in the second half meaning his three-game ban begins against The Pirates as The Shrimps look to pick up a first win in seven League 2 games.

Other absentees include Aaron McGowan and Chris Doyle, who both have hamstring injures, and Charlie Bailey who rolled his ankle in training.

Jamie Devitt will return after missing the Oxford defeat through illness while Aaron Wildig, hamstring, and Laurence Wilson, knee, will be assessed ahead of the trip south.

Bentley said: “We’ve struggled, we’ve not trained on grass properly for two months.

“We’re not getting the training load into them. We go on the Astroturf but some lads need to take it easy and others can’t even go on it.

“Then they go into explosive situations in games and it’s not ideal.

“It’s not gone for us recently but we’ve got to remain positive.

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“We’ll certainly have 11 that will go down and we’ll certainly have a couple on the bench.

“We’ve got a couple coming back from injury but we’ve got to make sure we don’t force it and they break down again because that’s the last thing we need.

“I’m juggling all sorts at the moment. Where to train, what players we’ve got available, can we do any business?

“It’s part and parcel of my life and I’m saying all this with a smile on my face. It’s difficult but it’s the job and you’ve got to embrace it and keep battling away.”

Bentley could look to bring left back Conlan back when he is fully fit but given The Shrimps’ tight budget it depends on what deal can be struck with Burnley.

As things stand, The Shrimps boss again reiterated that players need to leave the club for any to come in.

It is all frustrating Bentley’s traditional “try before you buy” method that he has employed during his near five years in charge.

He said: “I thought he (Conlan) did well in the time he was here.

“If I could get him back, I’d get him back.

“Ideally I’d also like to have a look at one or two coming with regards to next season.

“That’s always how I’ve done my business. I’ve got the players I’ve wanted to signed up and then had a look at others character wise so it gives you a little try before you buy.

“There’s plenty going on behind the scenes but all I’m interested in is the next game at Bristol Rovers.”

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