Jim’s looking up

Last season loanee Jamie Devitt aims to make a splash for the Shrimps
Last season loanee Jamie Devitt aims to make a splash for the Shrimps
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Morecambe manager Jim Bentley believes promotion is not out of the question as they start the new campaign tomorrow at Dagenham and Redbridge.

The Shrimps narrowly avoided relegation last season and finished 18th in the League Two table.

But Bentley has been inspired by other teams with tight budgets who have made the leap in recent years.

His opposite number Wayne Burnett admitted his Daggers side would do well to repeat last season’s ninth-place finish.

And the Shrimps gaffer praised his honesty but believes Morecambe could emulate Premier League new boys Burnley and make a surprise step up.

He said: “Like Wayne said, he is being realistic – anything can happen in football.

“But you have to go into the season with a positive mentality. If York can get into the play-offs then anything is possible.

“Look at Yeovil the year before, going from League One to the Championship, and look at Burnley last year – nobody gave them a chance.

“We beat them in the first pre-season game last year here 1-0 and there seemed to be a bit of doom and gloom about the place.

“And then the next thing you know I think they got a couple of players who can put the ball in the back of the net and they get automatic promotion to the Premier League – you know that can always happen in football.”

“But if you look at the bigger picture in League Two, Portsmouth are going for it, Shrewsbury and Bury will be there or thereabouts.”

Morecambe have added to their squad. Last season’s loanees Shaun Beeley, Jamie Devitt and Ryan Edwards all signed permanent deals and young striker Paul Mullin has joined the club.

But Edwards will sit out the first two months after breaking his finger in a friendly clash against non-league Burscough.

Bentley believes they have the perfect opportunity to rattle the Daggers when they travel to Victoria Road tomorrow.

He said: “Dagenham is a tough place to go. We all know that they finished the season strongly last season, lost one or two players in the summer but brought two quality additions in too.

“Just recently they have signed Jamie Cuerton, the veteran striker who knows were the back of the net is – so he will be one we have to watch.

“They have had a little bit of an up and down pre-season and they have one or two injuries - Rhys Murphy is out and Joss Labadie is a doubt, so it could be a good time to play them.

“We know all too well what has happened down there over the years – obviously we lost the play-off game 6-0 down there.

“We have come through non-league together and people used to say we were the Dagenham of the North and they were the Morecambe of the South, very matched with regards to budgets and attendance.

“We are coming off the back of a decent pre-season and hopefully we can get off to that all-important winning start.”