Jim Bentley reflects on the ups and downs of the past week
Morecambe boss Jim Bentley reflects on a week that has seen The Shrimps’ lose 2-0 at home to Cambridge United and gain a battling 1-1 draw away at Oxford on Tuesday night.
The gaffer was disappointed with Saturday’s performance and was pleased to get a reaction from his team on Tuesday night: “We were obviously disappointed after Saturday’s defeat. It was a bad showing and not a true reflection of us as a group. You do have your ups and downs and you do have your off-days but it was really poor, with the ball and without. We deserved the criticism and the fans response we got after it.
“We addressed it on Monday morning. We watched the DVD and a few fingers were pointed. I don’t want to have to keep saying it but I wanted a response, and knowing the group and the way they are I knew they could respond in the right manner and that’s exactly what they did at Oxford. I thought with the ball we looked threatening. We passed the ball well, got into good positions and created some good chances.
“Our set play routines worked well and should really have had a penalty when Jack Redshaw was pulled down in the area from a set piece. Oxford could even have had a man sent off in that incident. So it was unfortunate that we didn’t get the decision at 1-0.
“At 1-0 up away from home you’re always liable to go large spells under pressure which we did. We handled it well though and limited them to very little. We had a bit of bad luck with the goal after it took a deflection to loop up over Andreas but we could have done a little bit better. That being said it’s a good point and there’s loads of positives. That’s what we needed after the disappointment of the Cambridge match, to get a point on the board and the performance was much better and we move on.”
Jim admits that Saturday’s performance gave him something of a selection headache going into the game on Tuesday night: “It was hard to pick a team on Tuesday because I could obviously have made a lot of changes but when you’re after a response from the group you’ve got to give players the opportunity to respond. That being said, a lot of them didn’t deserve to play in the game after their performances on Saturday but I like to think we got the balance right with what we swapped around and I think we did.
“It’s always a difficult decision whether to change a winning side or losing side and taking into account how people have been training, what’s been happening in their personal lives, it has a big effect on team selection. So it was difficult to pick a team on Tuesday night, more so for the wrong reasons because of the way we played in the previous game.”
The manager also gives the rundown on the latest loan and injury news with Chris Doyle scoring a brace for Chorley at the weekend and good progress being made by Barry Roche and Andy Wright who featured in the starting eleven against Oxford: “Congratulations to Doyley who scored two goals for Chorley at the weekend in a 3-3 draw. It’s great for the lad to get out there and get some experience.
“Andy Wright got back into the starting eleven on Tuesday night for the first time since his double hernia operation. He tired a little bit in the second half but I thought he did excellent on the night and I’m pleased for him.
“Barry Roche is making good progress in his recovery and was back to see the specialist this week and they’re really happy with the way he’s been developing and the way his rehab’s going. He’s in good nick and is working extremely hard and it’s great to see him back in the building after his week down at St Georges, which is part of his rehab program.”
This weekend’s game sees The Shrimps’ travel to Luton Town, hoping to repeat their 3-0 win over The Hatters earlier in the season: “We’ll travel down to Luton on Friday morning and train on the way down. It’s a good game for us and will be the first time I’ve managed at Luton. They’re a big club and have the winning mentality after coming up last year. They’ve started the season really well and have strengthened throughout. They’ve got a big squad but they’ve been a little indifferent in terms of form and are a little bit up and down so it could be a good time to play them.
“We just need to put in a good performance and give a good account for ourselves and hopefully that’ll be enough to take something from this game and move further up the table which is where we want to be.”