Morecambe boss eyes brighter future as work begins for next season

Jim Bentley addresses the Morecambe fans after the final game of the season against Bury.
Jim Bentley addresses the Morecambe fans after the final game of the season against Bury.

A series of crunch meetings this week will begin to shape Morecambe’s squad for next season.

Shrimps boss Jim Bentley is set to sit down with each of his players individually to discuss what lies ahead after the current campaign finished with a 0-0 draw against Bury at the Globe Arena on Saturday.

The Morecambe manager will also meet with chairman Peter McGuigan and the board of directors with a view to finalising an increased playing budget ahead of next season.

A speech read on Mr McGuigan’s behalf at the club’s end of season awards night on Saturday confirmed more funds would be available to Bentley following the arrival of four new directors with the club hoping two more will follow over the summer months.

Bentley said: “We go into the summer now and start planning.

“Like every club, players will come and players will go.

“I’ve got a couple of meetings with the directors and the chairman this week to see where we can go.

“We’ve come through this experience (battling relegation) and it will make the club stronger and hopefully we can go from strength to strength.

“We want to be in the top half, we want to be challenging for the play-offs, get more wins and bigger crowds.

“There’s talk of investment and hopefully that will give us more to play with and hopefully make our squad stronger with better players.

“And that goes hand in hand with winning more games and better crowds, and hopefully everyone can move together and look towards a brighter future.”

Bentley was relieved that there was “light at the end of the tunnel” after his side’s slide in 2014 saw them battling towards the bottom of League 2.

On increased investment, he said: “That’s what we’re all hoping for.

“It’s been a difficult three years, the budget’s been cut each close season and it’s been very hard.

“Last season was probably the hardest. And it’s not just the players it’s all the other bits off the field, the overnight stays and things like that.

“The chairman’s honest as the day is long and so are the directors and they’ve worked really hard to get investment and now we can see a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel.”

One player staying with the club for next season is goalkeeper Barry Roche, the popular stopper having signed a new two-year deal ahead of the final game of the season against Bury.

The 32-year-old was set to be out of contract in the summer.

Bentley said: “He’s been key for us.

“He’s been a good performer in the time he’s been here and I believe he’s got better and stronger.

“I also think he’s got his best years ahead of him.”