The Shrimps host Everton U21s at the Mazuma Stadium in our opening Papa John’s Trophy fixture of the season.
Morecambe kick off their Papa John’s Trophy campaign on Tuesday 14 September, taking on Everton U21s at home in Group A before facing Hartlepool United away and Carlisle United at home in October and November respectively.
Stephen Robinson’s side look to bounce back on Tuesday night after a narrow defeat at the weekend at home to AFC Wimbledon before taking on Doncaster Rovers away in Sky Bet League One action later in the week.
Since taking over as Everton U21 manager, David Unsworth has taken charge of 163 games, winning a total of 72, drawing 34 and losing 57. As a result, the 47-year-old has accumulated a total of 250 points, averaging out at 1.53 points per match.
In their opening four games of the season, Unsworth’s side drew their opening game 2-2 away at Blackburn Rovers before losing two on the bounce against Liverpool and Crystal Palace respectively. His first win of the campaign came on Friday 10 September at home to Derby County by a goal to nil.
Everton’s key players
20-year-old forward Ellis Simms enjoyed youth spells at Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City before joining the Goodison Park academy where he graduated as a professional in 2019. The Oldham-born man spent the last six months of the 2020/21 season on-loan at Blackpool, scoring eight goals and providing two assists in 21 appearances, ultimately playing an integral role in the club’s promotion to the Sky Bet Championship.
Standing at 6ft 5 inches tall, centre-back Jarrad Branthwaite already boasts a wealth of footballing experience, despite being only 19-years of age. The young defender made his international debut for England U20s at the start of the month in a 6-1 victory over Romania. As well as spending the second half of last season on-loan at Blackburn Rovers, Branthwaite has also made 14 appearances for Carlisle United, netting once, and has made six first-team appearances for the Toffees.
Midfielder Tyler Onyango joined the Goodison Park club at the age of eight and signed his first professional contract with the Toffees in July 2020, making his professional debut in a FA Cup fourth-round victory against Sheffield Wednesday in January of this year. As a result, the youngster was included in 10 further senior matchday squads.
Shrimps’ pre-match thoughts
As a player, Stephen Robinson reached the Final of this competition with AFC Bournemouth, narrowly losing out against Grimsby Town, and the Shrimps boss is keen to replicate his achievements as Morecambe manager.
“It’s a game we’re taking very serious,” Robinson said.
“It’s a chance, I got to the Final of it as a player and it’s a great occasion, these early rounds are the ones mentally you need to be strong in and we intend to do that.
“I think we’ve actually watched more games with Everton than we have with any other opposition we’re playing because it’s local to us, so we’ve watched two games live, we’ve had all their U21 footage so we’re well-versed in.
“It’s a talented academy [Everton], when I was at Motherwell, they were an academy I always looked at because I believe that their players are taught very well.
“They learn real football as opposed to some of the false football we see in academies, they’ve a real strong mentality, that’s credit to the staff there including David [Unsworth] and obviously with his experience, the younger players are benefitting from that.”
Meet the men in black
Tyne and Wear-based Andy Haines will take charge of the fixture, with Anthony Moore and Conor Brown running the lines and Chris Isherwood taking up the position of fourth official.
Haines has taken charge of six games this season, in the Carabao Cup, Sky Bet League Two and the Papa John’s Trophy, and has issued a total of 13 yellow cards.
The official took charge of the Shrimps just once last campaign, in our 3-1 home defeat against Newport County, sending off former skipper Sam Lavelle in the process.
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.