The Shrimps return to action under the lights at the Mazuma Stadium on Tuesday 18 January when they face Wigan Athletic in Sky Bet League One.
In their last League outing, Morecambe earned a point away at AFC Wimbledon in a match which boss Stephen Robinson described as a ‘game of two halves’.
Despite chances for both sides, neither team could find a way to break the deadlock and the game ended goalless.
The Latics currently sit fourth in League One and will look to take advantage of one of their games in hand on Tuesday night. They head into the clash on the back of four consecutive wins, including a 3-2 victory over Championship club Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup. The last time Leam Richardson’s men were defeated on the road in a League match was on the opening day of the season when they lost 2-1 at Sunderland. They will be backed by a sold out away end of 1,700 on Tuesday night.
As a player, Richardson spent the vast majority of his career in the North West. He came through the youth setup at Blackburn Rovers and went onto play for Bolton Wanderers, Notts County, Blackpool and finally Accrington Stanley, where he made over 130 appearances.
The right-back hung up his boots to become Caretaker Manager at Stanley in 2013 until Paul Cook was appointed Manager the following month. Richardson had another spell as caretaker boss and was then appointed permanent Manager before leaving Accrington to join Paul Cook as Assistant Manager at Chesterfield. The pair won promotion to League One with the Derbyshire club and did the same with Portsmouth.
In 2017, the two arrived at Wigan and won promotion to the Championship at the first time of asking. The Latics remained there for two seasons but fell into administration and were relegated after being handed a twelve point deduction.
Cook resigned and, after John Sheridan spent a short spell in charge, Richardson was appointed permenant Manager following a takeover the previous month. Richardson managed to steer Wigan clear of relegation to League Two and has enjoyed a successful first half of this season.
Joint top scorer Will Keane has 11 goals to his name so far this campaign. The 29-year-old started his career at Manchester United and had a number of loan spells, one of those at Wigan which was cut short due to an injury. In 2016, Keane signed for Hull City and spent time on loan at Ipswich Town before signing for the Tractor Boys on a permanent basis. He returned to the DW Stadium permanently in October 2020 and scored 11 goals for the club that season before signing a new two-year deal in June. As well as his 11 goals to-date this season, Keane has contributed with six assists.
Club captain Tendayi Darikwa came through the youth setup at Chesterfield and played a key role in their title-winning season under Paul Cook. He also helped them reach the League One Play-Off Semi Final the season after. The following summer, Darikwa joined Burnley on a three-year deal. The Zimbabwe international later joined Nottingham Forest before signing for Wigan just over a year ago. This season, the 30-year-old has contributed with two goals and two assists.
Callum Lang has also scored 11 times so far this season for Wigan. He joined the club as a youngster back in 2013 after starting his career at Liverpool. The 23-year-old is a former Shrimps loanee who helped the Club avoid relegation to the National League in 2018, contributing with 10 League goals for Morecambe. Lang has also spent time on loan at Oldham Athletic, Shrewsbury Town and Motherwell. The forward scored his first senior goal for the Latics just over a year ago and has committed his future to the Club up until the summer of 2025.
Shrimps’ pre-match thoughts
Ahead of the game, Morecambe manager Stephen Robinson said his side doesn’t fear anyone.
“Looking at the calibre of the signings and money they [Wigan Athletic] are paying for them in terms of the quality they’ve added then yeah, they’ll be right up there all season,” he said.
“So it’s up to us to try and compete with that, it’s a difficult challenge but we don’t fear anybody here at all.
“If we play our game and cement our game from the start and rule out the individual mistakes which we’ve made on occasions then we’ll be okay.”
Meet the men in the middle
West Riding-based official Samuel Barrott will be the man in the middle on Tuesday night. He will be assisted by Ivan Stankovic and Graeme Fyvie. Michael Barlow will be the Fourth Official.
Barrott has taken charge of 23 games so far this season in League One, League Two and various cup competitions. He has awarded 88 yellow cards and zero red cards.
Tuesday night will be the first time Barrott has refereed Morecambe this season. He last took charge of the Shrimps in September 2020 when they were beaten 2-1 by Rochdale in the Papa John’s Trophy.
Don’t miss a kick with our iFollow coverage
After teaming up with Beyond Radio for the 2021/22 season, supporters will be able to listen to exclusive, full and uninterrupted radio commentary of every single game, home and away, which will be broadcast simultaneously on 103.5FM, 107.5FM and DAB+ digital radio across North Lancashire and South Cumbria as well as on the iFollow Shrimps platform.
Joining host Dave Salmon is the Club's Media Assistant Matt Smith, audio passes are available from as little as £2.50 per match, £4.49 for a monthly pass or £45 for a season pass.
As well as full match commentary, the ‘Shrimps Verdict’ podcast will be available post-match, featuring online, on demand content, including audio match highlights, post-match interviews and reaction, and much more!