There are plenty of teams looking to reach those 4 play offs spots this season, and Morecambe are another of those teams. Jim Bentley lead the Shrimps to a creditable 12th placed finish last time out, but will feel he should have a taken advantage of their sensational start.
Since May, top scorer Jack Redshaw has been sold to local rivals Blackpool. Shaun Miller is one of the names linked with Redshaw’s shirt, but the former Coventry City man will have large boots to fill. Jim Bentley previously missed out on AJ Leitch Smith after he was released by Yeovil Town. The Shrimps seemed fingertips from striking a deal with the player until League One Port Vale swooped in to steal the deal. Despite missing out on Leitch Smith, former loanee Tom Barkuizen has been recruited from the Tangerines. The 22-year-old failed to score in his 5 game loan stint at the Globe Arena, but a permanent deal should give him more time and space to showcase his skills.
Kevin Ellison has been an integral part of Morecambe’s success over the past few seasons. Now 36, Ellison certainly lacks the pace that he use to have, but his colossal amount of experience will be pragmatic in the younger players development. After netting 11 times in the League last term, Ellsion proved that he still has the ability to compete at forth tier level. This season could be the swansong for the former Rotherham man, although regular game time could see him extend his contract by a further year. Aaron Wildig is an excellent addition in the centre of the park, the midfielder did not feature for former club Shrewsbury until March after falling out favour and having various loan spells away from the New Meadow. He will hope this fresh start can revamp his career under Jim Bentley, but game time will be the unquestionable key for Wildig, having not had a long run of first team football since first arriving in Shrewsbury.
Irish goalkeeper Barry Roche is a display of loyalty that is severely lacking in the modern game. Roche has made nearly 300 appearances fro the club since signing from Chesterfield in 2008. His excellent shot stopping and leadership from the back have made him one of the first names on the team sheet, no matter who is in charge. Roche will once again have to be at his best this season with the defence looking a little light at this time. Ryan Edwards will have to make up for the lack of pace that Adam Dugdale possesses, but there is certainly no lack of pace in the full back roles. Laurence Wilson will be expected to fill the left back position will minimum of fuss. He is more than comfortable going in either direction but as he showed against Luton Town last season, he is capable of the spectacular goal from time to time.
For me, the loss of potent goalscorer Jack Redshaw will be pivotal in their season, unless a seasoned League Two striker is found quickly. Tom Barkuizen has not found his scoring form so far in his career, but having Ellison by his side will undoubtedly help. I also believe that the spine of the team will need to bolstered before they can start thinking about promotion. A box to box midfielder will be the tide turner in the centre of the park. Someone who ca pull the strings, find that extra yard of pace, and that additional quality to help overrun their opponents. Although Ryan Edwards, and Shaun Beeley have League Two game time, is is questionable whether they have the quality to fire Morecambe up the table.