By Tony Leighton
A slow start to the Sky Bet League 2 season they may have had, but Morecambe's exploits in the Capital One Cup have earned them some tremendous headlines and will surely kick-start the campaign for the Globe Arena team.
The Shrimps, who knocked Wolverhampton Wanderers out in the First Round of the Cup, are out of the competition after Wednesday night's 2-0 defeat by Premier League Newcastle United. But Jim Bentley's boys ran the Magpies ragged at times before two late goals took the thankful top flight team through.
A record Globe Arena crowd saluted the gallant Shrimps at the end of what was a memorable evening for the club and its supporters despite the final scoreline.
While the memories will linger on for all concerned, however, manager Bentley and his players have quickly turned their attention back to League 2 and Saturday's home game against Plymouth Argyle, a fixture that does not have the glamour of a big Cup night but is equally important.
There was no time off for the players after the Newcastle match, they were back on the training ground on Thursday morning to begin preparations for Saturday.
And there were mixed feelings in the squad following the Cup clash. Bentley told football-league.co.uk: "The mood amongst the lads was okay, no more than that.
"They were frustrated and disappointed that we got nothing from a big Cup tie we might have won, but they were upbeat and positive about their performance.
"On another day we might have beaten Newcastle. It boiled down to a few bits of rub of the green, and unfortunately we didn't get any of them.
"But we can't dwell on that. It's back to the bread and butter of the league now and all we're thinking about right now is Saturday's game against Plymouth."
Bentley's team will head into their fifth League 2 match of the campaign with confidence boosted through not only their Capital One Cup display but also last week's 2-0 win against Exeter City - their first league victory of the season after collecting just one point from their opening three fixtures.
Bentley said: "We had a couple of disappointing performances early on in the season, but we were better against Exeter and it was good to have a key player like Kevin Ellison back in the team and scoring both of the goals.
"If we can beat Plymouth that would give us seven points from 15 in our first five games and I'd have settled for that going into the season.
"We've had to make cut-backs in the budget, as we did last year, and I noticed that some of the bookies had us down as favourites for relegation.
"But we picked up two points more last season than we finished with the year before, and we'll aim for another improvement this season."
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