Shrimps seeking a distraction in Cup

Jim Bentley (right) will not accept what is happening on the pitch

Jim Bentley (right) will not accept what is happening on the pitch

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Morecambe will face familiar – and historic – opposition when they begin their FA Cup campaign on Sunday.

The visitors are former FA Cup winners Coventry City, who were also the first opponents following the Shrimps’ move to the Globe Arena in 2010.

A crowd of 4,002 saw Morecambe christen their new home with victory in the sides’ League Cup meeting, as two Andy Fleming strikes gave them a 2-0 victory.

The sides also have FA Cup history, the only other meeting coming in the second round of the competition back in December 2012.

Jim Bentley’s side put in a commendable performance on the day but missed out on a coveted third-round berth after a 2-1 defeat at the Ricoh Arena.

Gary McSheffrey and Carl Baker were on target for the 1987 winners either side of the interval with Kevin Ellison’s goal 13 minutes from time too little, too late.

The cup is a welcome distraction for Bentley’s squad after last Saturday’s 3-0 home loss to Exeter City.

The Grecians inflicted a club record sixth straight home league defeat on the Shrimps thanks to a hat-trick of first-half goals.

Small wonder then that Bentley was a particularly unhappy man come full-time and issued a stark message to his players.

“Exeter are a good side away from home and have a good record but it’s too easy to score against us,” Bentley said.

“I’ve said they have to buck up because we can’t keep 
having this.

“We can’t do anything outside the transfer 
window. We have belief in them and want them to do well but there will be changes made.

“We can’t keep having this scenario each week, going behind and not having enough to drag us back as one becomes two and that becomes three.

“I lost my head against Stevenage but I was quite calm against Exeter.

“We told them to try and get that first goal back and see if we can take anything from the game.

“We’ve had great chances to get something back in every game. We were the better side in the second half but it’s too late when you’re 3-0 down.

“We should have been playing with that spirit and endeavour when it was 0-0, not when we were well behind.

“Although we got it wrong defensively, we’re creating chances but we have to take a few because it takes pressure off the team defensively.

“I can’t stand getting beaten and I’d love to win every week in front of our home fans.

“We have to keep working hard, gee them up, keep them positive and do what we can.”

Sunday’s visitors arrive on the back of a 2-0 midweek win over Chesterfield but will be without four players this weekend.

Loan duo Daniel Agyei – who figured for Morecambe in pre-season – and Jamie Sterry are ineligible, while midfielder Gael Bigirimana and defender Lewis Page are both suspended.