Swindon face Morecambe this weekend looking to return to winning ways after two weeks without a win.
Town were left to settle for just a point against Port Vale at the County Ground as they failed to score for the second time in a week, after an unsuccessful trip to Stevenage.
The Robins face 19th-placed Lancashire side who have won two of their last three games against Forest Green and MK Dons.
Those recent wins over Morecambe and MK Dons, followed by a 0-0 draw against Notts County have given the Shrimps a cushion over their relegation rivals – something that didn’t look likely the last time these two sides met.
Back in September, Bentley’s side had endured a torrid start to the campaign losing six of their opening seven games in League Two including a heavy loss on the opening day of the season – a 6-0 battering away at Crewe Alexandra. At that point they were 22nd in the table but they’ve picked up points mainly away from home since then – they are 14th in the Away Table compared to 20th in the home rankings.
One of Morecambe’s strengths, in comparison to the rest of the teams in the nether regions of the table, is scoring goals – from all around the pitch. Eight players have contributed with over three goals with Kevin Ellison, A-Jay Leitch Smith and Rhys Oates all on six goals each.
Saturday 16 March 2019 Notts County 0-0 Morecambe League Two
Tuesday 12 March 2019 Morecambe 4-2 MK Dons League Two
Saturday 9 March 2019 Morecambe 3-0 Forest Green League Two
Saturday 2 March 2019 Yeovil 3-2 Morecambe League Two
Saturday 23 February 2019 Morecambe 0-2 Lincoln League Two
Swindon have never lost to their Lancashire counterparts - last time out, Elijah Adebayo's solitary goal was enough to seal victory at the Globe Arena for ten-man Town after Kyle Knoyle's sending off.
02 Dec 2006 Swindon Town v Morecambe W 1-0 FA Cup
17 Dec 2011 Swindon Town v Morecambe W 3-0 League Two
06 Apr 2012 Morecambe v Swindon Town W 0-1 League Two
19 Aug 2017 Morecambe v Swindon Town W 0-1 League Two
30 Mar 2018 Swindon Town v Morecambe D 1-1 League Two
08 Sep 2018 Morecambe v Swindon Town W 0-1 League Two
James Bentley has been at Morecambe since 2002, totalling 16 years at the club. After playing for five years at Telford United, Bentley made the switch to the Lancashire club and spent the rest of his playing career with the Shrimps.
Bentley appeared for Morecambe 298 times, playing as a central defender. In 2011, he was appointed player-manager on a two-year contract but never picked himself to play and has, instead, concentrated on his managerial role.
Since his original contract was signed he has agreed a further three extensions. In that time he has defied the odds to keep the club in the football league numerous times and last season survived on the final day with Barnet dropping into the National League. Barry Roche’s goalkeeping heroics inspired a point on the final day away at Coventry to ensure safety.
This year, Bentley and his side look more comfortable in the fight for their League Two status – wins at the beginning of March against Forest Green and MK Dons have moved them eight points clear of the bottom two.
It’s not just on the pitch that the Liverpool-born boss is successful – his relationship with Morecambe’s supporters is special too. Back in December 2016, Bentley was sent to the stands after reacting to a red card for Alex Kenyon against Cheltenham Town, and consequently received a £1,000 fine. At the next home game, fans raised the sum of the fine by passing buckets round as they beat Notts County 4-1.
Following the departure of Paul Tisdale from Exeter City in the summer, Bentley became the longest-serving manager in the top four tiers of English football.