Bentley shocked by Portsmouth’s current plight

Jim Bentley and Ken McKenna.
Jim Bentley and Ken McKenna.

Jim Bentley admits to being shocked by Portsmouth’s current position - but won’t be taking League 2’s big boys lightly when they visit the Globe Arena on Saturday.

Richie Barker’s side are just two points above the Football League trap door but the Morecambe boss is well aware of the threat posed by the 2008 FA Cup winners in what is a big game at a crucial time for the Shrimps.

Bentley said: “It’s a massive game.

“We’re on a bit of knife edge at the minute.

“We’re in a decent position and have been all season but are on a sticky spell at the minute.

“They’re fighting at the bottom which is unbelievable for the size of the club they are.

“Not so many years ago they were playing in the Premier League and winning the FA Cup and now they find themselves down the bottom end of League 2.

“But you’ve got to respect them because of the size of the outfit they are.

“They’ve got a new manager, made a couple of signings, they’ll have fantastic support so it’s big game and one we’re looking forward to.”

The Shrimps’ 3-0 defeat at Fratton Park back in August was one of the low points of the season thus far.

But with around a 1,000 fans set to travel up from the south coast this weekend, Bentley is hoping his players can rise to the occasion this Saturday.

He said: “It’s a long time ago now but we didn’t start the game particularly well (at Fratton Park), and Portsmouth were excellent and probably put in the best 45 minutes I’ve seen from any side this year.

“(Patrick) Agyemang and (David) Connolly caused us all sorts of problems and took advantage of the sending off which I thought was harsh.

“We were 3-0 down at half-time but tightened up after the break in what was a difficult game for us.

“But it was fantastic to go to Portsmouth and play in front of a big crowd.

“It was a fantastic atmosphere and I’m sure it’ll be the same on Saturday with plenty travelling up.

“We know we’re going to have to play well, we know we’ll need a bit of luck and we know we’ll need our home fans behind us.

“The lads are going to have to give it their all which they always do and hopefully we can get a result against them.”