The Shrimps travel to the Mornflake Stadium to face Crewe Alexandra on Tuesday 21 September in Sky Bet League One.
Stephen Robinson’s side head into the fixture on the back of a narrow 1-0 defeat away at Doncaster Rovers, whereas the hosts enjoyed a 2-0 victory at home against Burton Albion on Saturday
Out of the 14 previous meetings in the EFL between the two sides, the Shrimps have won just three, drawn three and lost eight, with the most recent meeting ending in a 1-1 draw at the Mazuma Stadium in February 2020, our last home game before that season was curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Railwaymen finished 11th in Sky Bet League One last season, and their start to the season has been one of mixed fortunes, winning only one of their opening seven league games and currently sitting 21st place in the table.
The Cheshire side started their season with a 1-1 draw against newly promoted Cheltenham Town before losing three league games on the bounce against Portsmouth away, Oxford United away and Accrington Stanley at home. A further loss against Charlton Athletic cemented a disappointing August for David Artell, however a draw against Shrewsbury and a win against Burton has seen Alexandra start September in a more positive fashion.
Manager Artell joined the side in January 2017 and has taken charge of 234 games since his reign began, winning 95, drawing 41 and losing 98. His team have scored 345 goals and conceded 354, accruing a total of 326 points, averaging out at 1.39 points per match.
David Artell’s pre-match thoughts
David Artell made 120 appearances as a player for Morecambe between 2007 and 2010, scoring 15 goals and providing one assist, and the former defender is hoping his side can take confidence from their first victory of the season against Burton Albion.
“Morecambe will always have a place in my heart, I think it’s a terrific football club,” he said.
“It’s one of them unfancied, unfashionable football clubs but when you get inside it, it’s got real good people at its core.
“It’s very similar to us, I don’t think we’re many people’s second team and I’m not sure Morecambe are either, but they’re built on good people, both inside the club, the people that run the club, and the fans.
“So we’re very similar in that aspect, so hopefully it’s a good game, but like I say, sentiment doesn’t come into it, so I hope we beat them.”
Alexandra’s key players
Crewe’s leading goalscorer so far this campaign is striker Mikael Mandron who has netted twice in the opening seven league games of the season. The 26-year-old Frenchman, who spent two years in the academy at Sunderland before turning professional with the Black Cats in 2013, has gone on to make 300 career appearances to date, three of which came in the Premier League, scoring 73 goals and providing 34 assists.
Winger J’Neil Bennett signed for Crewe on a six-month loan deal in summer from Tottenham Hotspur and is already highly regarded as a future star. The 19-year-old already has 83 career appearances under his belt with 23 goals and 14 assists to boot. Bennett also has represented England internationally, making four appearances for the C team in 2018/19, scoring one goal.
Central midfielder Scott Robertson signed for the Railwaymen on a season-long loan from Scottish giants Celtic in August. The 20-year-old has experience at this level having made 19 appearances for Gillingham and 15 appearances for Doncaster Rovers last season. The Lenzie-born man has one senior appearance for Celtic to his name, which came in a Europa League fixture against CFR Cluj, Robertson played the whole game.
Shrimps’ pre-match thoughts
Having seen a number of Crewe’s games so far this campaign, Robinson admits he’s aware of what Tuesday’s hosts can bring to the table.
He said: “I watched them against Burton on Saturday, they’re a good football side as Crewe always are, they’re a side that knocks the ball about and they’re going to be a threat, like Doncaster.
“The league table means nothing, everyone’s a threat in this league, every time somebody plays Morecambe, they feel they’ll get three points, or they should be taking points off Morecambe, we’re well aware of that.
“We’re going to be competitive, we have been in every single game, and this is going to be no different.”
Meet the men in black
Taking charge of the fixture is London-based Paul Howard, with Oliver Bickle and Darren Williams running the lines and Thomas Harty taking the position of fourth official.
Out of the seven games that Howard has taken charge so far this season, across the Carabao Cup, League One, League Two and the Papa John’s Trophy, he has issued a total of 23 yellow cards and two red cards.
The official refereed Morecambe on two occasions last season, including our home defeat to Tranmere Rovers in January as well as our 3-0 victory away at Grimsby Town in April.
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 across North Lancashire on 103.5 and 107.5FM, 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 the chance for supporters to have their say.