Jim Bentley: I'm recovering well after heart surgery and staying involved at AFC Fylde
It’s this passion for his sport that makes Bentley such a popular figure in the game and news of his successful operation has been warmly received.
But the 44-year-old is well aware he needs to manage his recovery with great care and stay away from Mill Farm for a while.
In his first interview since surgery three weeks ago, Bentley said: “The operation went well, with no issues, and now I’m recovering well.
“I was in hospital for a week and since then I’ve been at home just building up my strength day by day. Some days I have tried to do too much too soon but overall I’m ahead of schedule with my recovery.
“The biggest issue for me is being stuck indoors. I’m doing little walks but it’s a bit frustrating not being out and about, but it has to be done and I just need to be patient.
“Heart surgery is nerve-wracking. My mum had a triple bypass two years ago, so it is in the family. When you hear the word bypass you are very apprehensive and it’s a worrying time.
“November was tough because the operation was postponed and we went back into lockdown. It’s been a terrible year and 2021 can only be better.
“I can’t drive yet and of course I’m missing the football desperately. When I am able to go back it will be a day here and there at first. I’ll start watching matches from upstairs but of course that’s the most stressful part.”
Not that he has lost touch in any way and Bentley, who ended a 17-year association with Morecambe to take the Fylde reins in October last year, remains involved on a day-to-day basis.
“The only game I missed was Bradford Park Avenue and that was on the day I had surgery. I asked the nurse in intensive care to find out the score and I was a bit gutted we’d only drawn.
“I’ve spoken to Chaddy (deputy Nick Chadwick) every day. We always touch base in the morning and every night and he has been brilliant.
“The chairman and chief executive have been very supportive too and all the staff have gone about their business in the proper, professional manner.
“I’ve texted players and spoken to them individually and on group messages. I’m watching all the games and getting full reports on training every day. It’s important that I touch base on a daily basis and lend support in any way I can.
“All the messages from the well-wishers have been really touching and I just want to put all this behind me and get back to normal.”
Bentley’s side return to action at Chorley on Saturday, with the Mill Farm rematch seven days later. In between, Fylde are at home to Southport on Monday.