The Shrimps kick off October with a visit to Adams Park to face Gareth Ainsworth’s Wycombe Wanderers in Sky Bet League One on Saturday 2 October.
Both sides tasted victory in their last outings, with Morecambe firing two past Lincoln City at home without reply, courtesy of Cole Stockton’s 11th goal of the season and Scott Wootton’s first, and the Chairboys beat Shrewsbury Town at the Montgomery Waters Meadow by two goals to one thanks to goals coming from Joe Jacobson and Ryan Tafazolli.
Out of the 18 league meetings between the two teams, the Buckinghamshire club have enjoyed nine wins with the Shrimps claiming victory four times with five draws. Most recently, it was Morecambe who took all three points in a 4-2 win at Adams Park in February 2018.
In what was their debut season in the second tier of English football, the Chairboys found themselves relegated back to League One on the final day of the 2020/21 season, despite a 3-0 win away at Middlesbrough.
Ainsworth’s men have started the campaign strongly, having won five, drawn two and lost two of their opening nine games, including a 3-1 win over newly promoted Cheltenham Town as well as a 3-1 loss against current table-toppers Sunderland. Wanderers also reached Round Three of the Carabao Cup, bowing out against Premier League Champions Manchester City after taking the lead on the night.
Manager Ainsworth is the second longest serving manager in England’s top four divisions, having taken the reins at Adams Park in September 2012, initially as a player-manager. Since then, the 48-year-old has taken charge of 425 matches and has won 169, drawn 101 and lost 155. In those games, his side has scored 573 goals and conceded 569, ultimately totalling 608 points and averaging out at 1.43 points-per-match.
Gareth Ainsworth’s pre-match thoughts
Ahead of the game, the Blackburn-born man said that his side must be at their best if they’re to get anything against the Shrimps.
"Morecambe are definitely a team we've struggled against down the years,” he said.
“Every time we've got close to achieving something, along come Morecambe to put a spanner in the works!
“They're a good team and they've turned some big names over already this season, so do not underestimate them.
“People did that to us when we reached League One, and we got some good results that people didn't think we were capable of.
"I've asked the boys to give me maximum points if we want to achieve something this season, to beat Morecambe at home is a big ask but we'll be working really hard to work out what we're going to do, and what plan to put in place to deal with their strengths.”
Wanderers’ key players
Experienced striker Sam Vokes arrived at Adams Park in Summer 2021 and brings a wealth of experience to the side. The 31-year-old has 526 career appearances to date, 113 of which came in the Premier League for Wolves and Burnley respectively. Vokes also has Europa League experience, making 6 appearances for the Clarets in 2018. The striker has also represented his native Wales 64 times, scoring 11 goals, most notably the third in an impressive win over Belgium in the quarter-finals of EURO 2016.
Winger Garath McCleary is in to his second campaign with Wanderers, having joined the club in November 2020. The 34-year-old leads Wycombe’s goalscoring table so far this season with four goals in all competitions, all coming in two separate braces against Accrington Stanley and Charlton Athletic respectively. The Jamaican international has also represented his country 24 times between 2013 and 2016, scoring three times.
Centre-forward strongman Adebayo Akinfenwa arrived at the club in 2016 and has proven himself as somewhat a cult hero throughout the world of football. Nicknamed ‘The Beast’, the 39-year-old is known for his strength and physique as well as his ability to find the back of the net. Out of his 713 career appearances to-date, Akinfenwa has netted 208 times, 75 of which came in League One.
Shrimps’ pre-match thoughts
Despite facing a flurry of big names in the opening ten games of the season, Shrimps’ boss Robinson believes Wanderers could be the biggest test for his side so far.
“They have to be credited,” he said.
“They’ve come down from the Championship, they’re spending a lot of money, they’ve put a very, very good squad, experienced squad together, so we’re under no illusions.
“They’ve got a game in hand, which could put them in the top four if they win that game, so it’s going to be a big test for us.
“If we show the character that we have done in the last two games, then we’ll be okay, but this is going to be one of our toughest tests so far.”
Meet the men in black
Birmingham-based Tom Reeves will be the man in the middle on Saturday, with Scott Williams and Paul Kelly running the lines, and Antony Coggins taking up the role of fourth official.
Reeves has taken charge of six games so far this season, five of which came in Sky Bet League Two and the other in the Papa John’s Trophy and has issued a total of 28 yellow and two red cards.
Saturday’s clash will be the first ever League One game that Reeves has taken charge of, having risen through the divisions in the last four seasons.
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.