The Insider’s view: Morecambe

Midfielder Aaron Wildig has scored Morecambe's only goal this season
Midfielder Aaron Wildig has scored Morecambe's only goal this season
Pompey celebrated Brett Pitman's opening goal against AFC Wimbledon earlier this season

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Morecambe finished 11th last season to reflect their best campaign under Jim Bentley by way of points tally and position.

In terms of natural progression, to improve on that is a play-off spot, but I think it will be more difficult this year.

There are more teams capable of challenging for those mid-table placings and certainly many have a better spending power.

With the clubs coming up from non-league and those coming down from League One, I can see it getting congested. You can pick four or five mid-table positions which will have 10-12 clubs vying for them.

In terms of promotion, I can see Pompey, Oxford United, Luton and Cambridge United being right up there.

Still, the Shrimps are talking about the play-offs or a top-10 finish this season – and what a every good achievement that would be.

They may look at last year ruing there was a good chance to nick a play-off place, only to tail off to end up in 11th.

Now Bentley – who is the fifth longest-serving manager in the top four divisions – is seeking to maintain the progress having brought in six or seven new faces this summer.

Peter Murphy arrived from Wycombe to become skipper and big things are expected from him, but he damaged cruciate knee ligaments only eight minutes into his debut and is likely to be out until mid-November.

Another new arrival is Aaron Wildig, who initially came on loan from Shrewsbury last season and did really well. Morecambe need more goals from midfield and he is seen as someone to achieve that.

Incidentally, he has scored Morecambe’s only goal in their four matches so far – a 1-0 win over Accrington Stanley last weekend.

That was the Shrimps’ first Football League win over their derby rivals in eight seasons, and at the 17th attempt, so that outcome felt like a cup final victory.

However, this season so far has been a bit of a hard-luck tale.

From their performances against Hartlepool and Wycombe there is a feeling they could be sitting on nine league points at present.

They certainly created enough chances against Hartlepool on the opening day of the season to win, while had the better opportunities against Wycombe, only to lose to a set-piece with 15 minutes left.

Now they head to Fratton Park, which is not a happy hunting ground whatsoever, following defeats there during the past two seasons.

Although, as Morecambe keep saying, they are looking to put that right on Saturday.