Shrimps can last distance

Morecambe manager Jim Bentley
Morecambe manager Jim Bentley
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Morecambe are prepared for a concerted promotion push – that is the view of manager Jim Bentley.

The Shrimps have had an encouraging first five months of the season and are currently handily placed in 11th spot in the table – just four points shy of the play-off places.

However, in recent seasons the club has enjoyed similar starts, only to fall away in the new year.

Indeed, last season after a promising start, the team almost became embroiled in a relegation battle after winning just three of their final 23 league games.

Over the summer, Bentley and his staff left no stone unturned in trying to identify what went wrong over the second half of last season.

The Shrimps boss believes he has found a cure to the club’s new year blues and hopes the plans he has put in place bear fruit this term.

“It’s right – we have done poorly in the second half of seasons – certainly last year,” Bentley said.

“We have changed one or two things around this year. We have identified one or two training issues, physical needs that myself and my staff looked at right at the end of last season.

“We looked at how we can improve over the second half of the season because we can’t afford to have another second half like we certainly had last season, where we got dragged into a relegation battle.

“All you can do is try to identify what you think is for the best and then implement it on the team.

“We have tried to do that with the team and hopefully – fingers crossed – it works.

“I think the squad is a little bit stronger, so I think we will definitely improve over the second half of this season compared to last year.

“Hopefully, it will be enough to see us really kick on.

“We have only got one or two extra bodies in this year but it does make a big difference.

“In the past, the number of games has caught up with one or two players and we have suffered a little bit with injuries and suspensions.

“Not all the players this season have played every game compared to last season so they should have a bit more in the tank for the remainder of the season.”

Shrimps kicked off 2015 with a goalless draw against Stevenage at the Globe Arena, although they will be kicking themselves after Jack Redshaw missed a penalty in the first half.

“Overall, there are plenty of positives to take out of the game,” Bentley said.

“It’s a clean sheet. I think we only registered eight 
during the whole of last season but already we are on nine.”