Morecambe boss Bentley challenges side to seize FA Cup opportunity

Kevin Ellison goes for goal in the first game at Dagenham.
Kevin Ellison goes for goal in the first game at Dagenham.

Morecambe boss Jim Bentley is determined his side will seize their opportunity and have a good run in the FA Cup.

If The Shrimps can overcome Dagenham & Redbridge in Tuesday night’s first round replay at the Globe Arena they will host National League South side Whitehawk in the next stage.

The club has not reached the third round since 2003 with Bentley earmarking it as an aim season in, season out.

While keen not to underestimate any side, The Shrimps supremo hopes the town will roar his side to a potential third round money spinner.

Bentley said: “It’s a huge game.

“It should be, it’s the FA Cup and we’ve got a fantastic opportunity (to reach the third round).

“I’m not disrespecting Dagenham or Whitehawk.

“It’ll be a tough game on Tuesday and I’ve already had a look at the Whitehawk squad.

“There should be some cup fever. You’ve seen what’s happened at Salford and around the country at other places, Whitehawk being one of them.

“It should grip towns and cities. I’m hoping that the town gets behind us on Tuesday night.”

The 0-0 draw at Victoria Road in the first game between the sides was a real battle with Bentley feeling his side did enough to progress in difficult conditions.

He said: “The pitch wasn’t great down there and it was very windy.

“We proved at Rochdale (last Tuesday in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy) that if we’ve got a good pitch we’re a match for anyone footballing wise.

“But at Dagenham Wayne Burnett and his coaching staff weren’t very pleased with it either.

“There was also a lot of pressure in a big game and it turned into more of a battle than what we’re used to but we’re more than equipped to do that with any team.

“You can’t just be a total football side at our level because there’s going to be times when you’ve got to scrap.

“We did that and managed to grind out a 0-0 draw. Looking back, I still think we deserved to win the game though.”

The Shrimps head into the game on the back of a free Saturday, with a scheduled league clash against Tuesday night’s opponents called off due to international call ups.

Bentley said: “It’s been a bit strange.

“It might be an advantage because with the games coming up and after a hell of an effort last Tuesday night we’ll probably have a couple of players fit who wouldn’t have been ready for Saturday.

“It’s given us a chance to let a few bumps and bruises heal up.”