Morecambe boss challenges Vadaine Oliver to kick after Coventry display

Vadaine Oliver celebrates opening the scoring.
Vadaine Oliver celebrates opening the scoring.

Morecambe prepare for back-to-back away trips with manager Jim Bentley challenging Vadaine Oliver to build upon his man-of-the-match performance against Coventry City.

The striker could, quite conceivably, have had a first-half hat-trick last Saturday as the Shrimps posted a 2-0 win at the Globe Arena.

One effort was cleared off the line, a one-on-one opportunity was thwarted by City keeper Lee Burge, who also kept out a header from the centre-forward.

He was, however, powerless to prevent Oliver from opening the scoring nine minutes before half-time.

It was only the 26-year-old’s third goal of the season and, as the Shrimps head to Barnet on Saturday, Bentley is targeting an improved return in front of goal.

“Vadaine needed the goal,” the manager said.

“He’s been unlucky but there’s been poor finishing and ‘keepers have pulled off good saves.

“At Forest Green, for example, he hit the post and, on another day, that goes in and gives you a spring in the step.

“He had another couple of opportunities against Coventry, particularly when he went through one-on-one and might have taken it around the keeper instead of shooting.

“He got his goal but I thought his all-round play was good; he was strong in the air, got hold of it and, in the 93rd minute, he’s chasing down the full-back and getting blocks in.

“The crowd here want people who are going to compete, even if they aren’t playing at their best.”

The win came despite a less than perfect build-up which saw Bentley have to change his team and formation at the shortest of notice.

A pre-match injury to Alex Kenyon saw him withdrawn and the Shrimps camp tear up their planned back three in which Kenyon would have partnered Steve Old and Max Muller.

Oliver would have been joined in a front two by Adam McGurk but, instead, Garry Thompson was hastily restored to the starting XI.

It meant a back three became a back four, two up front became one as Oliver was the lone striker with Thompson and McGurk out wide.

“Kenyon got a back spasm while he was putting a sock on in the changing room,” Bentley said.

“Sometimes you wonder what you are going to do and it’s all hands to the pump.

“You try and go like for like but we didn’t have a centre-half on the bench; we could have put Luke Conlan or Mitchell Lund in there but we thought we’d go for it instead.”

Kenyon is, however, expected to be available for Saturday’s trip to Barnet, as is Kevin Ellison, while Sam Lavelle can also be called upon after suspension.