Bentley relishing varied pre-season campaign

Jim Bentley hands out instructions on the training pitch at Turner's Field.
Jim Bentley hands out instructions on the training pitch at Turner's Field.

Morecambe boss Jim Bentley is confident his side’s mix of friendlies will get them in good shape for the new League 2 season.

The Shrimps start their pre-season campaign at Carnforth Rangers tonight, Tuesday, July 15.

A team of reserve and youth team players is expected to take on the North Lancashire League double winners before the first team get their first taste of action at North West Counties Premier Division side AFC Liverpool tomorrow night, Wednesday.

Bentley is hoping the tests against the non-league sides will stand his players in good stead for the new season, which starts at Dagenham & Redbridge on August 9.

The Shrimps boss said: “Last season we played pretty much all Championship and Scottish Premier sides and we spent most of the time defending and there was plenty of good football.

“And when the season started I think you could tell.

“When we got to the first game against Wycombe last year they were straight in our faces and the tackles were flying in.

“It was a bit like a non-league game in the first half and we were found wanting a bit.

“It’s important to get a bit of everything.

“The non-league lads are hungry and the pitches and surroundings will be more difficult.

“They’re out to impress and want to be in our lads’ boots as full-time players.

“The games give us a chance to try out different styles and formations.”

After the trip to Merseyside, the Shrimps host Dundee at the Globe Arena this Saturday, July 19 in their first home friendly.

Bentley said: “Pre-season is always the toughest stage of the season with the hard work and hot weather.

“Once a bit of the fitness work is done then it’s good to get down to the games.

“Touch wood we’ll stay injury free.”

The full list of friendlies is as follows:

Carnforth (a) July 15

AFC Liverpool (at Marine FC) (a) July 16

Dundee (h) July 19

Oldham (h) July 22

Preston (h) July 25

Wigan Robin Park (a) July 26

Burscough (a) July 29

A replacement for the postponed Bradford friendly on August 2 is still being finalised.