Keeper capers put Jim in a spin again

Tom Stewart
Tom Stewart
  • Jim Bentley searching for goalkeeper after Andreas Arestidou was sent off in midweek
  • Rookie goalkeeper Tom Stewart unlikely to start against Carlisle tomorrow
  • Big ask for Shrimps to reach League Two play-offs
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Morecambe boss Jim Bentley thinks it is too soon to hand rookie keeper Tom Stewart his first league start against Carlisle tomorrow.

Stewart made his Football League debut on Tuesday night against Shrewsbury after current No.1 Andreas Arestidou was sent off.

I think it is a lot to ask Tom at the minute

Arestidou received a one-match ban and will miss tomorrow’s Brunton Park clash.

Bentley said the teen keeper did well in his 41-minute cameo but believes the game against Carlisle is too early for Stewart.

He said: “I think it is a lot to ask Tom at the minute.

“He is very lacking in reserve-team and youth-team football – to be honest he has not played much football all season.

“He’s had a few games at non-league sides AFC Liverpool and Salford and he’s played about three or four reserve games.

“So he is not right up to the standard of what we need for a League Two game but he will certainly be in the squad.

“He came on the other night and fair play to him, he did okay. When called upon, he made a good save, so he can be proud of his efforts. But it might be a little too big an ask.”

Due to Stewart’s inexperience Bentley is set to sign a new keeper on loan to deputise for Arestidou tomorrow.

The goalkeeping headache has been a recurring problem for Bentley who has used four keepers since first-choice shot-stopper Barry Roche was ruled out for the season in October.

Defender Shaun Beeley is a doubt for tomorrow and after two disappointing home defeats, Bentley is not just looking for a new keeper to reinvigorate his side.

He said: “We’ve been unlucky. I had a busy day on Wednesday, not just with the goalkeeping situation. I‘m still looking in the outfield as well.

“We need an injection, – we have looked a little bit stale the last couple of games.”

Bentley’s men are 14th in the League Two table and he thinks it is wrong that his men – who still have an outside shot of reaching the play-offs – are facing criticism when big clubs like Carlisle are struggling in the same division.

He said: “It is mad that we are getting a little bit of criticism for the position we are in but a club like Carlisle – who were in the division above us last season– Tranmere Rovers and Hartlepool, who are good sides, are all battling relegation, while we are in a decent enough position.

“The good thing is that we have picked up points on the road that have put is into a mid-table position.

“No one has the magic formula because if they had it certainly wouldn’t be at League Two level.

“You can’t take anything for granted.

“There might be someone who comes out of the pack and goes on a late run but it will be a big job for us now to do 

“We know it will be tough tomorrow. They have good players and they are fighting for their lives so it is going to be another tricky test.”