Sam Lavelle calls on Morecambe’s board to financially back manager Jim Bentley

Morecambe defender Sam Lavelle
Morecambe defender Sam Lavelle

Morecambe defender Sam Lavelle has called on the club’s powers that be to back Jim Bentley in retaining as many as possible of this season’s squad.

Having stayed up on goal difference last year, the Shrimps started the 2018/19 campaign with seven defeats in their first eight league matches.

However, seven wins in the last 15 matches lifted them to 18th come the end of the season following Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Newport County AFC.

Lavelle, along with Steve Old, Ritchie Sutton, Andrew Tuttle and Rhys Oates, is already under contract for next season.

However, players including top scorer Aaron Collins, A-Jay Leitch-Smith, Zak Mills and Andy Fleming have deals that are set to expire.

There is also the question of whether Bentley will try to complete the permanent signings of loanees including Richie Bennett, Liam Mandeville and Piero Mingoia.

“I don’t want to go through something like that ever again,” Lavelle said of last year’s final day escape at Coventry City.

“This year has been a bit better but I have to say I do feel a bit sorry for the gaffer because I hope he gets the investment he needs in the summer.

“He needs a little push to keep people like Liam Mandeville, Aaron Collins and Jordan Cranston; they are players we need to keep hold of for next season.”

It was Collins who scored Morecambe’s goal in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Newport County AFC at the Globe Arena.

The Welshman netted his eighth goal in only 15 appearances to end the season as the club’s top scorer despite only joining in February.

Saturday’s draw was a game in which Lavelle and Old shone in the centre of the Shrimps’ defence.

They had a running battle all afternoon with Newport striker Jamille Matt and were on the verge of winning it until his 87th minute leveller.

“I think I’ve improved that side of my game since coming from Academy football,” Lavelle said.

“I think I’ve adapted well and I enjoy the physical challenge as well as the heading battles.

“I think the draw was a fair result; we could have made it 2-0 or 3-0 but we didn’t and they scored so fair play to them.”