Morecambe boss Bentley surprised by Hartlepool’s slide

Jim Bentley salutes the Morecambe fans after the draw against Scunthorpe.
Jim Bentley salutes the Morecambe fans after the draw against Scunthorpe.
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Jim Bentley believes Morecambe and Hartlepool United have trodden fairly similar paths this season ahead of their meeting at Victoria Park on Easter Monday.

The Shrimps, in 18th, sit a place and a point above Colin Cooper’s side who have lost their last six games to get dragged into the League 2 relegation battle.

Like Bentley’s side however, Pools were once seen as an outside bet for a play-off finish before a poor run of form.

The Morecambe boss said: “I’m a little bit surprised at their position but I’m surprised how we’ve slipped too.

“That’s the way it goes and that’s the way the league is. Maybe it’s caught up with them a bit as they’re not blessed with a big squad.

“The didn’t start great after their relegation but they got their act together and they started climbing the table and you though they might be an outside bet for the play-offs but they’ve struggled since.

“It’s similar to ourselves in some ways and there’s not much between both clubs.”

Jack Sampson’s 95th-minute header handed the Shrimps a late, late point against leaders Scunthorpe on Good Friday to move Bentley’s side onto 50 points.

It is usually a mark associated with Football League safety but Morecambe remain just three points clear of the League 2 trap door with three games to play.

Bentley said: “It was a big point for us at the weekend, it just gives us a little cushion.

“We know from when they played us at the end of 2013 that they’re a good footballing side with plenty of legs and plenty of enthusiasm. It’ll be a tough match for us.

“Barnet got relegated on 51 points last year so we’ve got to just keep plugging away and try and win the match.

“We can take plenty of positives from Saturday. It was another great comeback against a top, top side in Scunthorpe.”

The Shrimps will also hoping to be able to take advantage of an extra day to prepare for the game with Hartlepool having played on Saturday, a 3-0 defeat at Burton Albion.

Bentley said: “At this stage of the season we’ve had a little bit of luck there. 
“I think we had a little bit of luck with the six minutes going up on Saturday which gave us time to get the equaliser.

“We’ve got an extra day’s rest with them playing on Saturday so hopefully we can use that in our favour.”

Pools are hoping for a big bank holiday crowd having cut ticket prices throughout the ground to £5 for the 3pm kick-off.