Morecambe boss Bentley backs Jordan to make the step up
Morecambe boss Jim Bentley has backed Luke Jordan to become club's latest success story on the wing.
The teenager made his Shrimps debut on Saturday, replacing Paul Mullin after 77 minutes of the 4-1 win over Notts County.
He made an instant impression with his pace and direct running, shrugging off two challenges which might easily have yielded free kicks.
There was also a stoppage-time yellow card for County skipper Michael O’Connor for a foul on the youngster, moments after Jordan made a decisive intervention.
With Morecambe leading 3-1 and County chasing the game, Jordan led a counter attack and saw a shot pushed onto the woodwork before Kevin Ellison swept home the rebound.
While Ellison won the sponsors’ man-of-the-match award, Jordan’s cameo saw him win the vote on the club’s official Twitter feed.
“We’ve tried to get more pace in the team,” Bentley said.
“I took criticism for letting Padraig Amond go but we replaced him with Tom Barkhuizen.
“Tom ended up getting more goals and assists but we’ve sold him now and done a good job there.
“Luke has pace, and if you’ve got pace in forward positions, then anything can happen.
“In certain games recently we’ve been trying to get him on but, for one reason and another, it wasn’t possible.
“We had a youth and staff meeting and I said that we’ll get him on the pitch; he’s shown enough in the youth and reserves and he’s come on another level.
“It’s important to put him in at the right time; we knew that pace would get him in behind and, as soon as he came on, he caused them problems.
“He’s got a bright future and it was fantastic play for the fourth goal.
“That’s what we’ve been lacking with Tom Barkhuizen leaving the club so it was nice for him to come on and, in the changing room afterwards, everyone gave him a high-five.
“What a fantastic debut for the young kid; that fourth goal just wrapped it up perfectly.”
While Ellison walked away with the sponsors’ award and Jordan the social media honours, Saturday’s victory was one where a number of players stood out.
With injuries and the departures of loan trio James Jennings, Alex Whitmore and Ntumba Massanka, the Shrimps’ squad was down to the barest of bare bones with only three outfield players and keeper Danijel Nizic named on the bench.
That situation wasn’t helped by Andy Fleming’s needless red card with half-time moments away and his side 3-0 up.
However, Mullin turned in arguably his best performance of the season in the lone striker’s role, Lee Molyneux impressed on the right-hand side, while Michael Rose kept a cool head in the centre of midfield after Fleming’s dismissal.
“Paul is another player who has been caught in between,” Bentley said.
“We had a good chat the day before the game on what I expected from him and what he’s capable of doing.
“He’s been unfortunate because Cole Stockton has led the line so well and Tom Barkhuizen was so good when playing wide right so he’s found his opportunities limited. Ken (McKenna, assistant manager) did a great job with Paul and I’m really pleased with him.
“He’s been a bit frustrated but he’s still a young lad who is going to make mistakes and have some ups and downs – but we aren’t asking him to do something that he’s not capable of.”