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Morecambe boss counts the cost of recent weeks

Kevin Ellison went off injured against Stoke City U21s
Kevin Ellison went off injured against Stoke City U21s

Jim Bentley’s mind was on Morecambe’s increasing injury list following Tuesday’s Checkatrade Trophy defeat.

The Shrimps were beaten in their second group stage match, losing 2-1 against Stoke City’s youngsters at the Globe Arena.

Bentley had made eight changes from the side beaten in the league by Tranmere Rovers at the weekend in the hope of resting a few bumps and bruises as well as giving game time to some of his fringe players.

That wish came at a price midway through the first half with Kevin Ellison limping off and joining the Shrimps’ walking wounded.

“It’s the worst I’ve seen injury-wise in all my time as a manager and a player,” Bentley said.

“Two weeks ago, I think we only had Garry Thompson in the treatment room.

“Then we have a reserve game and James Sinclair gets a serious ankle operation and he has an operation on Thursday.

“Andy Fleming has had his knee operation, Alex Kenyon’s had his knee operation as well, Steven Old has an Achilles problem and Zak Mills has a bit of a hamstring and a hernia.

“Aaron Wildig had a bang on the knee (against Tranmere) and we’re hoping he’ll be alright.

“Vadaine Oliver was smashed off the ball (against Tranmere) and has a knee injury; he’s been for a scan and we’re hoping he can play through the pain - if he can’t, he will need an operation.

“Kyle Hawley went over in training on Monday and Andrew Tutte was ill, although we have to manage him at the moment.

“Then Kevin Ellison comes off with a calf injury - and we aren’t a big squad as it is.

“Barry Roche has had a bit of a wrist problem which we were going to work with.

“It’s a good job we have decent medical insurance because otherwise, it would be costing the club a few quid.”

The injuries took away some of the focus from the Shrimps’ defeat to Stoke’s Under-21s.

Players including Lamin Jagne, Carlos Mendes Gomes and Joe Piggott were given a chance to impress, while Jason Oswell scored his first goal for the club.

However, as Bentley acknowledged afterwards, the positives were in the minority.

“We got a lot of youngsters on the pitch at the same time and Jason has his first goal,” he said.

“Overall I thought it was a bit of a disappointing night; it lacked a bit of tempo and urgency which it can do when you make those changes.

“It’s hard when you make that number of changes but, no excuses, we weren’t at it for 90 minutes.

“Stoke handled the ball well and I didn’t think we did as well as we have done recently.”