Bentley focused on Stoke as controversial EFL Trophy comes to town

Jim Bentley. Picture: B&O PRESS PHOTO
Jim Bentley. Picture: B&O PRESS PHOTO

Jim Bentley is purely focused on victory over Stoke City as the controversial Checkatrade Trophy arrives at the Globe Arena tonight, Tuesday.

The revamped Johnstone’s Paint Trophy has come under fierce criticism from large numbers of fans with 16 category one academies having joined League 1 and League 2 clubs in what has traditionally been a lower-league competition.

Many supporters voted with their feet in the first round of group fixtures, with a crowd of just 392 watching Fleetwood’s game at home to Blackburn’s Under 23s.

Bentley has put those issues to one side however and knows his side need to win to stay in the competition after a 4-1 defeat at Bury in the opening game at the end of August.

The final group game comes against Bradford at the Globe Arena on November 8 but with the Bantams having beaten Stoke’s Under 23s 1-0 there is all to play for on Tuesday night.

The Shrimps boss said: “There has been a lot of talk about the competition this year but we have ignored that, our aim is simple, to go and win the game and go as far as we can in it.

“We know we will be up against some top-quality opponents no matter who Stoke play and we will be well prepared and up for it because we want to get back to winning ways.”

Glyn Hodges’ Potters side will largely be made up of academy players although Charlie Adam did feature against Bradford having found first-team opportunities limited this season.

The Shrimps will be fresh after seeing their game at Notts County abandoned after just 11 minutes due to a waterlogged pitch.

Bentley made changes against Bury in the opening game and could rotate his squad again.

He said: “After Saturday’s game was abandoned this is a welcome fixture for us and one we are looking forward to.

“It’s difficult to prepare for because we don’t really know who we will be coming up against as Stoke will play mainly their under 23s but can add other players like Charlie Adam who played in the competition at Bradford in their last game.”

Only the PMG Stand and OMEGA Holidays Group terrace will be open for the 7.45pm kick-off.

Adult tickets are priced £10 for seating and £8 for standing. Concessions are £8/£6 with juniors £3 and children free.

All adults can bring up to three under 14s free of charge.