Morecambe boss Bentley rues missing out on Whitmore

Jim Bentley.
Jim Bentley.

Shrimps boss Jim Bentley still hasn’t finished his shopping for the new season after admitting a move for Alex Whitmore fell through at the 11th hour.

Morecambe had tried to bring back their former loanee from Burnley on a season-long arrangement, only for the defender to eventually decide on a move to League One Bury until January.

Seven new faces have joined over the summer, New Zealand centre-half Steve Old the latest arrival, but Bentley doesn’t want the new blood to end there.

“A lot of hard work has gone on into trying to get players to join us,” he said ahead of Saturday’s opening game of the season against Cheltenham Town.

“We have been trying to get Alex Whitmore back all the way through the close season but he’s decided to go somewhere else now.

“So that means we have to move on and go to somebody else but I have to say it’s been a very testing time.

“Ideally we’d like another forward and another midfielder but we really do need at least one and maybe two more defenders.

“However, we aren’t in a position to get whatever we want by throwing money around; we have a certain amount available and we have to make sure we spread it around.”

Bentley was always in a position where he had to bring in a number of new faces.

Ryan Edwards and Paul Mullin left for Plymouth Argyle and Swindon Town respectively, while loan trio Whitmore, Antony Evans and Michael Duckworth returned to their parent clubs.

Peter Murphy retired days after he was released along with Liam Wakefield and Lee Molyneux, leaving the Shrimps eight men down on last season’s squad.

The best indication of a manager’s life during pre-season is that Bentley has received a plethora of texts, voicemails, emails and social media messages regarding would-be signings.

Ordinarily, that would be nothing new except all of those messages came during the Shrimps’ opening pre-season friendly at Bamber Bridge.

“It doesn’t stop because there are a lot of agents who get in touch,” Bentley said.

“We have spoken to players and missed out on them for a host of reasons, not just financial but where we are or that people might fancy going to play for someone else.

“The financial situation we had last year can be seen as a negative but it’s down to me to put a positive spin on it and tell players that it’s now better.

“It’s definitely been the hardest pre-season I’ve had and it’s been hard to get the right players in.”