Fine first month for Shrimps

Jack Dunn has four goals for Morecambe
Jack Dunn has four goals for Morecambe
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Morecambe boss Jim Bentley is pleased to have got through a frenetic opening month of the campaign as they prepare to face Leyton Orient on Saturday.

They welcome their visitors to the Globe Arena, looking to make it five wins from six in League Two.

The Shrimps top the table after a hectic August which saw them play eight games across three competitions.

In addition to the five league matches, they also played twice in the EFL Trophy – beating Rotherham United and losing to AFC Bournemouth – before losing 4-1 at Bury in Tuesday’s opening Checkatrade Trophy tie.

“It’s going all right,” the manager acknowledged. “It’s been a hard slog with the games we’ve had because they have been coming thick and fast.

“We’ve been getting through them okay but it’s always made easier when you’re winning – everyone’s wanting to play.”

Four consecutive league victories after the opening day defeat at Grimsby Town is 
eye-catching enough.

However, what is also notable about the Shrimps’ first month is the way the goals have been shared around the squad.

Paul Mullin’s goal on Tuesday made him the seventh different player to score for them in the opening three-and-a-half weeks of the season.

Loanees Jack Dunn and Cole Stockton head the charts with four apiece, one ahead of Kevin Ellison.

Tom Barkhuizen, Ryan Edwards and Michael Rose are the other players to have found the net for the Shrimps so far.

While happy that his players have scored at an average of two goals per game, what pleases Bentley more is the fact they have not had to rely on one out-and-out goalscorer.

He said: “Kevin has chipped in with a few goals and Jack Dunn has got a couple of goals. Cole Stockton scored a couple at Accrington and, although Tom Barkhuizen only has one goal, he has looked a threat so far.

“Then you have the players like Michael Rose, who scored against Blackpool, along Rhys Turner, Lee Molyneux and Andy Fleming who has had chances.

“The good thing is that we are creating chances and those opportunities are not falling to the same person.

“It’s important we aren’t relying on one person to score the goals for us and that we can share them around the team.”

Deadline-day signing 
James Jennings is in line to make his debut for the Shrimps.

The defender joined on loan from Cheltenham Town, 24 hours after scoring for Gary Johnson’s side in their 2-1 Checkatrade Trophy defeat at Blackpool.

He is likely to be given his chance as Luke Conlan is away with the Northern Ireland Under-21s squad.

Also making a late move on deadline day was Burnley striker Ntumba Massanka.

The 19-year-old becomes the club’s fifth loan arrival as, like Jennings, he has agreed a stay until January 3.