Bentley is counting the cost of fixture pile-up

Jim Bentley (Picture: Matt Rushton)
Jim Bentley (Picture: Matt Rushton)
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Morecambe welcome Accrington Stanley to the Globe Arena tonight with manager Jim Bentley admitting he cannot wait for March to end.

The Shrimps go into the game on the back of four straight league defeats following Saturday’s 1-0 reverse at Plymouth Argyle.

It will be their 13th game in seven weeks thanks to postponements and rearranged matches with No.14 coming against Mansfield Town on Saturday.

Fourteen games across two months is a schedule that would test clubs with much bigger squads and resources, so Bentley admits it has been a tough examination of his patched-up players.

“It’s ridiculous the way the fixtures have come out for us,” he said. “We have a squad of only 19 senior professionals –which includes Antony Evans, who is only a kid – so a couple of injuries and suspensions would leave us up against it.

“It’s not just the game but the travelling as well, going to places like Portsmouth, Newport County and Leyton Orient on a Tuesday as well as Crawley Town on a Saturday.

“I was shattered every Wednesday and Thursday because the schedule has been relentless and we have put in a lot of hard work.

“Maybe we are suffering for that now with the games having come and thick and fast. Plymouth was more travelling, then we have a big derby against Accrington and then another home game against Mansfield.”

Saturday’s defeat left Morecambe 15th in the League Two table going into the final nine games of the season, having already matched last season’s final points tally of 46, which saw them finish 21st.

A fine February, which yielded 15 points from eight games, was largely responsible for propelling the Shrimps up the table.

It was a run which came despite the club’s numerous off-field problems and issues with their training facilities.

“Training hasn’t been ideal because we haven’t been able to train anywhere,” Bentley said.

“It’s just been an absolute nightmare because the pitch is cutting up and is very heavy.

“There are a lot of things stacked against us but I’ll never use them as an excuse.

“We have to adapt because we have come up short in the last few games.

“I won’t say we have done enough to win some of those games but we have deserved something from them.

“We have deserved a point here and there but we need something to break the cycle we’re currently on.”