Date: 29th February 2020 at 10:00am
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This afternoon sees a trip to Morecambe’s Globe Arena with the hosts sitting in 22nd place but being more difficult to beat under the management of Derek Adams with the Alex looking to complete a league double following the 5-0 demolition at the Alexandra Stadium back in November.

In their squad could be former Alex defender Christian Mbulu (following his move last month) as well as Alex Academy Alumni players AJ Leitch-Smith and Ritchie Sutton while Shaun Miller will be ineligible as part of his loan move from the Alex.

So far this season, they have beaten Macclesfield Town, Colchester United, Leyton Orient, Newport County, Port Vale, Walsall and Macclesfield Town, they have drawn with Mansfield Town twice, Cheltenham Town, Salford City, Northampton Town, Crawley Town, Carlisle United twice, Colchester United and Cambridge United while they have lost to Grimsby Town twice, Exeter City, Swindon Town, Scunthorpe United, Walsall, Oldham Athletic twice, Port Vale, Bradford City twice, Forest Green Rovers, Stevenage, us, Plymouth Argyle, Cambridge United, Northampton and Cheltenham Town.

In the cups, they lost to Burton Albion in the EFL Cup 2nd Round following a penalty victory over Mansfield in Round 1 and lost 4-1 to Blackpool in the FA Cup 1st Round. In the EFL Trophy, they again lost to Blackpool and Wolves Under-21s (the latter on penalties) before beating Carlisle United in the final game of the group.

Since the first meeting, Morecambe have made 7 signings with defender Mbulu, midfielder Toumani Diagouraga and forward Jordan Slew all joined on permanent deals while goalkeeper Christoffer Mafoumbi, defender Ryan Cooney, midfielder Adam Phillips (the latter two joining from Burnley) and forward Harvey Bradbury would all join on loan. Tyler Brownsword, Kyle Hawley and Michael Howard would all leave on loan moves while Lewis Alessandra and Alex Academy Alum Joe Lynch would leave on permanent deals.

Looking back in the archives, the two teams have met 13 times with the Alex leading the head-to-head record by 8 wins to 3 with 2 draws. Crewe’s biggest win in the fixture saw the Alex win 6-0 in the opening game of last season while all of Morecambe’s wins have come by a single goal.

Who are the officials for the game?

The officials for this game see Graham Salisbury as the man in the middle where he is assisted by Kevin Mulraine and Simon Clayton with Conor Brown being the fourth official. Here are the Crewe games that have been refereed by Salisbury in the previous 5 years:

  • Crewe Alexandra 1-2 Luton Town (14th January 2017) – Lowe
  • Crewe Alexandra 2-2 Mansfield Town (5th August 2017) – Porter (2)
  • Crewe Alexandra 1-2 Luton Town (25th November 2017) – og
  • Swindon Town 4-3 Crewe Alexandra (27th January 2018) – Ainley (2), Wintle
  • Crewe Alexandra 1-1 Bury (13th October 2018) – Kirk
  • Oldham Athletic 1-1 Crewe Alexandra (16th February 2019) – Ray

I asked Morecambe supporter Jack Steer, trustee for the Shrimps Trust, for his thoughts going into the game.

How would you describe your season so far?

A struggle. We have spent most of the season in the bottom two, which wasn’t what we had hoped for in August. A change of manager become inevitable, but Derek has steadied the ship and we are now much harder to beat. We are still playing some nice football at times and have the ability to beat any team in the division.

Which position is the one that you should have strengthened during the last transfer window that you didn’t?

We signed seven new players in the January window with Derek Adams stamping his mark on the squad. I think Derek would have liked a more proven striker if it were possible, but we don’t have the biggest budget and can’t just cherry-pick the players we want. We have made some good additions, but I expect Derek to make many more changes in the summer.

Which position is the one that you should improve the most from the squad you currently have?

Many would argue that we have been conceding too many goals, and not scoring enough so our problems are at either end of the field. My view is that the problem is in the middle of the park where we have a lack of depth and perhaps could be stronger. The loss of Andy Fleming through forced retirement has been a noticeable loss.

What do you think the team will be for the game?

I don’t expect too many changes from the last couple of games, but Cole Stockton is injured for 6 weeks which will force us to change things around. I wouldn’t like to guess what Derek will do but it doesn’t feel like we have a like-for-like replacement, so it might result in us setting up differently.

How would you set-up to nullify your team?

I think most teams set up in a similar manner, so it isn’t as simple as setting up to nullify the opposition. At this level, it is all about hard work and closing the team down to stop it playing. The mistake any team could make is to assume because we are in the bottom 3, we can’t play football – we can.

Who is the danger man for this game?

Goals seem to be coming from anywhere in midfield, but Adam Philips has made an impression since joining us on loan and can have a big impact on games. Carlos Mendes-Gomez has also been a revelation under Derek Adams, and on his day could be a danger man.

What do you think is a realistic aim for Morecambe this season?

The only aim for this season is to stay in the Football League. We have a reasonable gap between ourselves and Stevenage, but it could all change in a couple of games. Ideally, we would finish outside the bottom 2 and need to start pulling a couple more teams down into the mix.