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09 March 2024 Venue Mazuma Mobile Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

PREVIEW | Morecambe vs Wrexham

Resurgent Morecambe are the next challenge for Wrexham.

8 March 2024

Morecambe's mini-revival has cast them back into the promotion mix, and they are currently outside the top side only on goal difference. It's their sparkling away form that has been the foundation for their improvement though: can they replicate that level of performance at home to the title-chasing Red Dragons?

Wrexham were magnificent in their first half dismantling of Accrington Stanley last Saturday, and ought to have earned more than 2 points from the 3 away trips that preceded that 4-0 win. Paul Mullin's magnificent hat trick will bring back unhappy memories for Morecambe, as he also took the match ball home after they visited the Stok Cae Ras earlier this season.

Tom O'Connor's return from injury is drawing closer, but this game has come too soon for him. Eoghan O'Connell was withdrawn early on Saturday, but that appeared to be precautionary, so Phil Parkinson's squad doesn't seem to have picked up any more injuries from the Accrington game. 

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LAST MEETING

THE OPPOSING VIEW

When Derek Adams departed Morecambe for a third stint as manager of Ross County, there was a real danger that the Shrimpers' strong start to the season could peter out into mediocrity. After all, they had been tipped to struggle at the start of the season, and although they were in second place when Adams left last November, things quickly spiralled. Their first game without Adams in the dug-out was a chastening 6-0 defeat at the Stok Cae Ras, and they won just one of their first 10 league matches after his departure, slipping to 14th. They also lost all 5 season-long loan signings in January, including top scorer Michael Mellon, as their parent clubs activated their recall clauses. However, Adams' replacement, Ged Brannan, has carefully engineered a restructuring of the squad which is now bearing fruit. Tuesday's win over Crawley, following hot on the heels of a fine 3-2 win at Crewe, meant the Shrimpers are only outside the play-off spots on goal difference. 

Their renaissance is built more on the back of strong away form: they've taken 17 points out of 24 on the road since losing to us, but just 10 pts out of last 27 at home. Still, they've racked up some impressive home results, tending to do well against the stronger teams while dropping careless points against the strugglers. Mansfield and Stockport returned from Morecambe with draws, but recent home games against Grimsby and Colchester only yielded one point.

Brannan has reshaped the squad, having already brought in ten new players, including 5 loan signings to replace those who have departed. He has also looked to address medium-term goals by offering a slew of contracts in an attempt to hold his current side together, as no current Morecambe player is contracted beyond 2024. Indeed, Brannan has even begun discussions about retaining his new loan signings next season. He told the Lancashire Post:

“We’ve spoken to Bolton about Nelson Khumbeni and to Wigan about Joe Adams. Fingers crossed we’ll be able to keep them for next year. We’ve got a really good relationship with Nottingham Forest so, hopefully, we might be able to get a couple of their players.”

HEAD TO HEAD

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We’ve only played Morecambe away from home once, at their old ground, Christie Park. It was a dramatic mid-season match as we battled unsuccessfully to cling onto our place in the Football League.

We arrived in 24th place in League Two, but had shown small signs of promise in our last 2 games, as a win over league leaders MK Dons and a draw at home to Bradford had halted a disastrous run of 8 consecutive defeats.

We started well, but Morecambe took the lead in the 7th minute with their first serious attack. We had to cling on as The Shrimpers pushed for a second, but were given an opportunity to equalise against the run of play when on-loan striker Stuart Nicholson was fouled in the box. Danny Sonner stepped up to score from the spot.

Soon afterwards Chris Llewellyn hit the post and Drewe Broughton missed the target from the rebound, but Wrexham were dealt a double bow at the start of the second half with both Sonner and Carl Tremarco needing to go off. The latter’s replacement, Neil Taylor, was fortunate not to concede a penalty almost immediately, but as Morecambe piled on pressure they took the lead soon afterwards as a driven cross deflected in off Neil Roberts.

Gavin Ward kept us in the game as we came under intense pressure, and with 11 minutes left we earned another penalty after a goalmouth scramble ended in Llewellyn being fouled by future Wrexham player Dave Artell. Another player who would go on to play for the Red Dragons, Shwan Jalal, stood between us and an equaliser but substitute Michael Proctor drilled the ball past him to level the score.

The closing ten minutes were nerve-wracking as we came under intense pressure. Again, Ward was busy and Morecambe missed an open goal before Wrexham’s plight became even greater with the dismissal of Richard Hope in the last minute, but we held on to claim a 2-2 draw.

In our first home game of that season we’d beaten The Shrimpers 2-1, with Michael Proctor scoring twice in the opening quarter of the game. Ex-Red Dragon Jon Newby pulled a goal back to no avail.

It wasn’t the first time we’d faced them at the Stok Cae Ras though: four seasons earlier we’d met in the LDV Vans Trophy, and enjoyed a comfortable 4-1 win. Lee Jones struck a 17-minute hat trick either side of half time, as we were awarded 2 penalties against Morecambe yet again. Jones converted the first one, and Hector Sam struck the second home before The Shrimpers managed a late consolation.

Our only other clash with Morecambe came earlier this season, and we marked it with a memorable performance. After an own goal got us off to a quick start, Paul Mullin struck a hat trick, and Jacob Mendy and James Jones also chipped in as we ran out 6-0 winners.

Mullin, Proctor and Lee Jones are our top scorers against Morecambe, each with three goals.

We’ll attract the biggest crowd between these sides at Morecambe this weekend, as our previous trip to the coast attracted 2,421 fans.

TODAY’S OTHER FIXTURES

Accrington Stanley v Bradford City
Barrow v Colchester United
Doncaster Rovers v Crewe Alexandra
Forest Green Rovers v Walsall
Gillingham v Tranmere Rovers
Harrogate Town v Crawley Town
Mansfield Town v Swindon Town
Milton Keynes Dons v Salford City
Notts County v AFC Wimbledon
Stockport County v Newport County
Sutton United v Grimsby Town
 
Once again there's a big bottom of the table game, as Grimsby follow up their massive win over Forest Green with a trip to Sutton. After their midweek slip-up at home, Mansfield have a chance to set things right when Newpount County visit Field Mill. 

POTENTIAL MILESTONES

Andy Cannon’s fiftieth Wrexham appearance.

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