The Shrimps travel to the Keepmoat Stadium to face Doncaster Rovers on Saturday 16 September in Sky Bet League One.
Morecambe go into the clash on the back of a narrow defeat in the Papa John’s Trophy, losing by a goal-to-nil against Everton U21s at home, whereas the hosts fell to defeat last time out against Wigan Athletic.
The two teams have only met on two previous occasions in the English Football League, in the 2016/17 Sky Bet League Two season, where Rovers beat the Shrimps at the Globe Arena by five-goals-to-one, before a 1-1 draw was played out in the return fixture.
Having finished 14th in Sky Bet League One last campaign, Rovers have endured a tricky start to the season, losing five of their opening six league games, picking up their only point in a 0-0 stalemate at home to Portsmouth.
The South Yorkshire outfit kicked off the season with a 2-1 defeat against AFC Wimbledon before beating Walsall on penalties in the Carabao Cup. From there, Richie Wellens’ side picked up losses against Sheffield Wednesday, Accrington Stanley and Stoke City in Round Two of the League Cup, before falling to two defeats against Rotherham United in the league and the Papa John’s Trophy and finally a loss against Wigan Athletic.
Since taking the Keepmoat Stadium hotseat in May 2021, former Salford City boss Wellens has taken charge of nine matches for Rovers, winning one, drawing one and losing seven, picking up four points and averaging out a total of 0.44 points per match.
Richie Wellens’ pre-match thoughts
Rovers’ boss Wellens spoke before the game and admitted his side must ‘go for it’ this weekend as his Doncaster side goes in search of their first three points of the campaign.
“No excuses anymore,” he said.
“The message this week is to go for it.
“Be expressive, get forward, get numbers in the box. Pass forward, run forward, if you’ve got the opportunity then drive forward.
“Training has been really, really good. We’re going full throttle at the weekend.”
Rovers’ key players
Rovers’ skipper Tom Anderson spent 12 years progressing through the academy at Premier League side Burnley between 2000 and 2012 before signing his first professional contract at Turf Moor. After spending loan spells at nine different clubs, the 28-year-old arrived at the Keepmoat Stadium on a permanent deal. Since then, Anderson has made 126 appearances, scoring six goals from the heart of defence. After a successful start to life at Rovers, Anderson was made club captain in January 2021.
Goalkeeper Pontus Dahlberg joined the club in August on a season-long loan from Premier League Watford. The 22-year-old, who has played twice for the Swedish senior team as well as accumulating over 40 appearances for the youth sides, has played over 115 professional games in his career, including once in the Europa League Qualifying stages for IFK Göteborg, and has kept 28 career clean sheets to date.
Experienced midfielder Tommy Rowe is well into his third spell at the Keepmoat Stadium and has accumulated more than 150 appearances for the Dons, netting 32 goals and providing 24 assists. The 32-year-old has played 215 League One games as well as 183 in the Championship and 74 in League Two. Rowe has also appeared in three different League One Play-Off campaigns, winning in 2011 for Peterborough United as well as winning the League Two Play-Offs for Stockport County in 2008.
Shrimps’ pre-match thoughts
Despite Doncaster’s difficult start to the campaign, Shrimps manager Stephen Robinson has reiterated the importance of not getting carried away and underestimating Wellens’ side.
“I’ve watched their games,” he said.
“I watched their game against Wigan, they were unfortunate with a goal disallowed, they played well, they’ve changed systems quite a lot.
“I watched their game against Portsmouth where I thought they were very good.
“Sometimes you don’t get things go your own way, I think maybe the league table’s maybe not telling their true position at the moment, so we certainly won’t go and underestimate them.”
Meet the men in black
Taking charge of the game is Luton-based Will Finnie, with Paul Stonier and Declan Ford running the lines and Mark Dwyer stepping in as fourth official.
Saturday’s referee has taken charge of six games this season, three in League One, two in the Carabao Cup and one in the Papa John’s Trophy, distributing 10 yellow cards and one red card.
Finnie, who officiated his first EFL game in August 2019, refereed the Shrimps in our 1-0 FA Cup victory over Maldon & Tiptree.
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 Head of Media and Communications Ryan Daly, 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.