Jim Bentley gives the run-down on what has been a busy week at the Globe Arena and looks ahead to the visit of Cambridge United on Saturday.
Saturday’s game saw The Shrimps’ travel to Newport County, a trip which involved an overnight stay and a trip to the training headquarters of the Welsh national team: “We set off for Newport on Friday, with it being a long way away we stay overnight. We travelled with 19 players which is one more than we usually take.
“We took Jamie Devitt for some treatment and light training after he suffered a back injury in the home defeat to Dagenham. We took him along for some treatment and then to take a fitness test with a view to have him on the bench giving us the option to bring him on if we needed to. As it was, he passed the fitness test so he made the bench and as a result Chris Doyle missed out.
“We trained at Dragon Park which is the Welsh national team training facility, which is a fantastic setup. We had a good sharp session there and the lads were in good spirits. The emphasis on the training was short sharp possession based drills. To finish we did some attacking and defending crosses because we knew Newport would put in a lot of crosses because they’re quite direct and like to load the ball into the box.”
The gaffer gives an insight into the pre-match routine of the team on a long away trip: “On Saturday morning there’s no set time for breakfast so all the lads filter down when they like, any time up until 10:30.
Jim was pleased with his side’s performance in a game that saw Jack Redshaw net his ninth goal of the season in all competitions and the hosts have a goal disallowed for offside: “We made a solid start to the match, which was great after the starts we’d had last week against Northampton and Dagenham. We managed to get an early goal through Jack Redshaw who scored to mark his 8th League goal of the season.
“We had a pre-match meal at 11:45 and just have a light lunch, in this case beans and egg on toast. We then left at 1:05 for Rodney Parade. Once the team sheets were released we just recapped the preparation work we’d done on them through the week and just confirmed a few things tactically.”
“A good ball forward by Ryan Edwards and a great bit of movement from Kevin Ellison who dragged the centre-half out of position opening up the space for Jack to run into and finish well on his left foot. After that I thought we were very solid and limited them to very little.
This week has seen some transfer activity at the Globe with Chris Doyle returning to Chorley on loan and a young striker from non-league football training with the club: “On Monday morning Chris Doyle agreed to go out on loan for a month to Chorley, which I think’s a good move for him to get some regular football.
“I thought it was a very hard-earned three points and a very professional, well-disciplined performance. To take away a clean sheet and get back to winning ways was a good day all around.”
“It was a difficult pitch because they play rugby on it. They’d rolled it very hard to flatten it out and it looked very good on arrival but as soon as we’d warmed up on it became evident that it was cutting up a lot which made it difficult to play football on. We looked very comfortable with the exception of the disallowed goal which looked as if it was correctly disallowed but even if it wasn’t, that’s a bit of well-deserved luck because we haven’t had much luck recently.
“We have a young lad in from Buxton FC of the Evo-Stik League Northern Premier. A forward who’s been playing well for them, scoring goals and comes highly recommended. So he’s been training with us and we’ve had a good look at him so we’ll see what happens there.
“They’re playing Saturday and midweek for the next three or four weeks so he’ll get plenty of football. He knows the level, he knows the club and he knows the manager because he’s already had a couple of loan spells there so he’s very happy and we wish him well.
The Reserves won 2-1 away at Wrexham this afternoon and we got 90 minutes out of Andy Wright who made his return from a hernia injury last week playing 45 minutes in the reserve match against Wigan Athletic. Joe McGee also continued his comeback this afternoon scoring the winner after Jack Sampson’s first half penalty levelled the score ”
This weekend’s fixture sees Cambridge United visit the Globe Arena, a club still on a high from their recent FA Cup double header with Manchester United and a game Jim intends for his team to be well-prepared for: “We’re doing a lot of DVD analysis on them and we’ll go through their strengths and weaknesses with the lads on Thursday. We feel this gives the lads a good insight of what to expect. They’re coming off the back of a 6-2 defeat against Portsmouth and a goalless draw with AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night.
“They’re a strong physical side and they mix the play up well. They’ve got some good key players and invested well in the squad during January and the loan window. They’ve had a good season in their first season back in the Football League and obviously an outstanding achievement in the FA Cup forcing a draw at home to Manchester United to earn themselves a replay at Old Trafford. They’ve got a good manager who knows his stuff. He’s been in the game many years and has got together a good honest hard working squad. They’re a good side and will be a difficult test for us.”
See the Shrimps train at Dragon Park: