Bentley: FA Cup still as important as ever

Jim Bentley.
Jim Bentley.

Morecambe boss Jim Bentley is still an FA Cup romantic despite the competition losing some of its lustre amongst the elite in recent years.

The former club captain has fond memories of growing up watching Everton in finals and of big occasions when playing for the Shrimps.

And he insists it is a competition he always looks forward to, this season starting with Southend’s visit to the Globe Arena in the first round on Saturday.

He said: “I love the FA Cup, I loved playing in it.

“I grew up in the 80s watching Everton in cup finals and they maybe don’t take it as seriously in the Premier League in the early rounds now but it’s a competition we want to do well in.

“It gives me no greater pleasure than getting on YouTube and looking at my two goals against Chester from about 20 years ago!

“I’ve always enjoyed it and enjoy it as much now being a manager.

“Financially it’s good. If we can get into the third round and get another Premier League club like we did in the Capital One Cup (Newcastle) that would be fantastic.

“We’re taking it seriously. We’ve done okay in the league, we’re in a decent position after last week’s win so we can put that to one side and concentrate on the FA Cup.”

The Shrimps have never lost in seven meetings with the Shrimpers, winning on six occasions.

But the record counts for little on Saturday according to Bentley.

He said: “We’ve done well against them and beaten them already this season but it’s another game, the record won’t last forever.

“They’re coming off the back of a good win themselves last week against Mansfield where by all accounts they battered them and could have had a few more.

“(Southend manager) Phil Brown knows the game inside out. He’s very experienced at the highest level. He’s got good players and it will be a tough task for us but they’re probably saying the same thing about us.

“We’re fifth in the league, have just won 1-0 away at Burton and have one or two players coming back from injury.

“It’s got the makings of a good cup tie and hopefully we’ll be on the winning end of it.”

Bentley knows his side have plenty of players to watch on the day, including former Shrimps loanee Kevan Hurst.

He said: “Freddy Eastwood’s had an operation and he’s going to be a big miss for them because he’s started the season really well but Barry Corr, the big centre forward, is doing well.

“He’s played at a higher level and is a bit of a legend there but they’ve got quality all over.

“We know about Kevan Hurst. He scored last week and has the most assists in the league last year.”