John Coleman feels for his pal Jim Bentley as the two square up on Saturday for the Lancashire derby.

Bentley’s Morecambe side have lost four of their last five games and are currently in 19th spot in League Two – 13 points above the bottom two.

They do though have the chance to do the double over the third placed Reds as they beat Stanley 1-0 in August, ending a 10 year run where the Shrimps hadn’t overcome Coleman’s men in the league.

Coleman knows his Morecambe counterpart is getting some stick for the season – and he thinks it’s undeserved.

“Everyone knows my affinity for Morecambe. I had my most successful playing days there, I have a lot of friends there and I feel for Jimmy and his assistant Kenny (McKenna).

“I know how much effort they put into the job, how much hard work they do and they are passionate people who take it personally when they have not had the best of runs.

“It’s not about budgets but it obviously affects the squad you can assemble and they, like us, are one of three teams which have the lowest budget in the league at the start of the season and two teams go down.

“We have had the season of our lives and it doesn’t mean they should be having the season of their lives as well. The finished fourth not so long ago and you can’t beat Jim and Kenny with a stick because we are doing well.

“I think people sometimes lose sight of the fact that, for clubs like Accrington and Morecambe, it’s an achievement to stay up. I know we don’t say that but in football you have to keep your feet on the ground and expectations real.

“I urge the Morecambe fans to realise what they have got in having Jim and Kenny in charge. You will never find two people committed to Morecambe and they should realise that fact.”