Jim Bentley’s relief as Morecambe avoid any final-day dramas
Morecambe boss Jim Bentley admitted it was a relief to have a stress-free final day of the season.
The Shrimps’ fine run of results from February onwards meant they ended the season 18th in League Two.
They were 13 points clear of the relegation zone in the end, a massive contrast to the same time a year earlier.
Then, they were grateful for Barry Roche’s last-day heroics in securing a point at Coventry City.
That ensured it was Morecambe who stayed up on goal difference and it was Barnet who dropped into the National League instead.
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This time around, Bentley was able to look on as their final-day opponents, Newport County AFC, monitored results elsewhere in their bid for a play-off place, while Morecambe got the better of Notts County in their battle to beat the drop.
“I keep being reminded about last year when it was the worst day ever,” Bentley said of the Coventry draw.
“I’m looking at the anguish on their (Newport) faces when they were going for the play-offs.
“I think Notts County were winning and Macclesfield were losing at one stage as well.
“I’m thinking I’m glad that wasn’t us because I do feel for those teams but we had a decent season; we’ve done well.”
While the on-field battle to preserve EFL status has been won for another year, Bentley is now in the midst of another seemingly annual fight.
This one comes off the pitch with the Shrimps’ boss looking to try and agree deals with his leading lights.
Contracts have been offered to 10 players but, given their displays last season, it seems inevitable that at least two of them – Aaron Collins and Zak Mills – will have attracted interest from clubs elsewhere.
It’s a well-worn path for Bentley who has developed players including Tom Barkhuizen, Ryan Edwards, Aaron McGowan, Jamie Devitt and Shaun Miller, only to see them move on and other clubs reap the reward.
He said: “We will try and secure our better players but we usually get dismantled and have to start again.
“That’s what it’s like being Morecambe manager; teams below us will have interest in our players but all we can do is pay them what we can.”