The Shrimps host Shrewsbury Town in what is the club’s first ever home game in Sky Bet League One.
The first League One game at home kicks off on Saturday 14 August as Steve Cotterill’s Shrews make the journey north from Shropshire to west Lancashire to face Stephen Robinson’s Shrimps at the Mazuma Stadium.
The hosts go into the tie on the back of a famous Carabao Cup victory away at Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday night, which will give Robinson’s men ample confidence and rightfully so.
The two sides have faced eac other 14 times in the past, with Morecambe winning four, drawing three and losing seven. The first of those clashes, in October 2002, came in the LDV Vans Trophy, 12 of the meetings came in League Two and the most recent fixture came in 2017/18 FA Cup.
Below is everything supporters need to know ahead of the visit of Shrewsbury.
Cotterill’s men finished 17th in League One last season, winning 13, drawing 15 and losing 18 of the 46 games played. The Shrews’ boss was absent for a large portion of the season due to COVID-19 related issues, so everyone at Morecambe Football Club is delighted at his recovery and look forward to welcoming Steve to the Mazuma Stadium.
In terms of the two games played so far this season, the Shropshire outfit fell to an opening day defeat at home to Burton Albion before triumphing over fellow League One side, Lincoln City in Round One of the Carabao Cup, which saw the tie go all the way to penalties to decide the outcome.
Aaron Wilbraham’s pre-match thoughts
The Salop assistant manager Aaron Wilbraham took charge at New Meadow on an interim basis last season, following the hospitalisation of boss Steve Cotterill due to COVID-19.
With Cotterill back in the dugout where he belongs, former Bristol City and MK Dons forward Wilbraham is relishing a tough test against the Shrimps.
“They’ve had a couple of good results what they’ve started off with,” Wilbraham said.
“It’ll be their first home game so they’ll be up for it, the crowd will be up for it and the players will be.
“We need to go there and start better than we have done the last two games to be honest and we need to be on the front foot and be ready to start the game well because they will come at us.
“They did well last season, they’ve started the season well so we have to be on our guard against them.”
Town’s key players
Shrewsbury’s leading goal scorer last season was Shaun Whalley, a 34-year-old right-winger who is going into his seventh season with the New Meadow side after joining on a free in July 2015 following release from Luton Town. The prolific talisman, who netted eight times last campaign as well as leading the assists table, started his youth career with Norwich City before enjoying successful spells with the likes of Accrington Stanley and Wrexham.
Summer signing Matthew Pennington arrived on a free after being released by Premier League side Everton. The 26-year-old centre-back, who spent eight years at the Goodison Park club, spent most of his Merseyside spell out on loan, and has accumulated experience with the teams such as Leeds United, Ipswich Town and Hull City. The Warrington-born man was also capped for England at U19 level in 2013. With over 207 career appearances to-date, including seven in the Premier League, the Shrews will be looking to rely on Pennington’s experience throughout the season.
Another pre-season arrival is right-midfielder Elliott Bennett from Blackburn Rovers. The former Jamaican international is another recruit with plenty of experience, having played a total of 491 games so far in his career, scoring 35 goals in the process. In addition, the former Wolverhampton Wanderers, Brighton and Hove Albion, and Norwich man boasts 78 career assists to-date, meaning he’ll always pose a threat against any opposition.
Shrimps’ pre-match thoughts
Morecambe manager Stephen Robinson has enjoyed a strong start to the campaign, narrowly missing out on an opening day victory at Ipswich Town before a shock victory over Sky Bet Championship side Blackburn Rovers in Round One of the Carabao Cup.
Whilst the 46-year-old is looking forward to having fans back at the stadium for a league game, he is hoping for a repeat performance of Tuesday night’s second half at Ewood Park.
“A point at Ipswich was brilliant, it should’ve been three,” said the Shrimps’ chief.
“We have to follow that up with a performance and the result usually follows the performance and if we can get anywhere near the second half at Blackburn, then we’ll do okay on Saturday.
“You see the buzz around the town, we took 1,000 fans to Blackburn and 700 to Ipswich so the momentum is growing in the town, there’s a real feel good factor about the place and we have to continue that.”
Meet the men in black
Nottinghamshire-based Declan Bourne will be the man in the middle at the Mazuma Stadium on Saturday, with Conor Brown and Peter Gooch running the lines and Kevin Mulraine taking the position of fourth official.
Bourne, who refereed the Shrimps last campaign in our 3-1 victory at home to Grimsby Town as well as our 4-1 triumph over Scunthorpe United, took charge of 30 games last season, issuing 86 yellow cards and two red.
His first game of the current season came on Tuesday night at St Andrews as Birmingham City overcame Sky Bet League Two opposition Colchester United by a goal to nil in Round One of the Carabao Cup.
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 and club media assistant Matt Smith on the press deck for the Shrimps’ first home game of the Sky Bet League One campaign is summer signing Jon Obika, 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.