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Match Previews

Match preview: Morecambe v Sunderland AFC

29 April 2022

Morecambe welcome Sunderland AFC to the Mazuma Stadium on Saturday 30 April for the final game of the 2021/22 Sky Bet League One season.

The Shrimps come into the game two points clear of the drop zone. Derek Adams' men failed to increase their distance from the relegation zone at the weekend when they were beaten 2-0 against promotion-chasers MK Dons away from home. Harry Darling opened the scoring 20 minutes in before Daniel Harvie wrapped up the points ten minutes from time with a deflected effort from outside the box.
In the reverse fixture, the Black Cats claimed a comfortable win after putting five past Morecambe. Ross Stewart, Alex Pritchard and Leon Dajaku got their names on the scoresheet as well as Nathan Broadhead who struck twice.
The Opposition
Alex Neil’s side sit 5th in League One and will now have their sights set on winning promotion via the Play-Offs. They come into the clash unbeaten in twelve games and in midweek, they were held to a 1-1 draw by second place Rotherham United. 
Former defensive midfielder Alex Neil began his career at Dunfermline. The Scotsman played for Airdrieonians, Barnsley, Mansfield and Hamilton Academical - the latter where he became player manager in 2013. The following year, Neil won the Accies promotion to the Scottish Premiership before becoming Norwich City manager. He won promotion to the Premier League with the Canaries through the Play-Offs, but they were relegated the following season. The 40-year-old spent three years at Preston North End before taking charge at Sunderland in February 2022 after Lee Johnson was relieved of his duties.
Key Players
Striker Ross Stewart was handed a place in the EFL League One Team of the Season after scoring 24 league goals so far this campaign. The 25-year-old made the move to the North East in the summer from Ross County where he helped the club win promotion to the Scottish Premiership.
24-year-old Nathan Broadhead is on loan with the Black Cats from Everton and has contributed with 11 league goals so far this season. The forward joined the Toffees at the age of seven. He spent the 2019/20 season on loan at Burton Albion in League One before joining Sunderland on a season-long loan in August.
Midfielder Elliot Embleton has netted eight goals this term and has also provided seven assists. The 23-year-old came through the youth-setup at Sunderland. He spent time on loan at Grimsby Town in August 2018 and spent time on loan in the North West with Blackpool in February 2021 until the end of the season. Embleton scored his first goal for Sunderland earlier this season against MK Dons. 
Shrimps’ Pre-Match Thoughts
Morecambe boss Derek Adams said the group are looking forward to playing in front of a sell-out crowd on Saturday. 
“We’re really confident at home, we’ve got a huge backing, it's a sell-out crowd for the game on Saturday and we are all thoroughly looking forward to that,” he said. 
“I think that’s important, your home form, we’d always like to have done better away from home but we understand the league that we are in.
“We understand that Sunderland are a huge football club and we understand they’re in the same division as us and that gives us that opportunity to try and get something from the game on Saturday.”
Meet the Officials 
Surrey-based Gavin Ward will be the man in the middle on Saturday. He will be assisted by linesmen Matthew McGrath and Nicholas Barnard. Darren Handley will be the Fourth Official.
Ward has taken charge of 35 games this season in the Championship, League One, League Two and the FA Cup respectively. In these games, he has handed out 145 yellow cards and four red cards. 
He was promoted to the Select Group 2 list of referees before the 2018/19 season.
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 on 103.5FM, 107.5FM and DAB+ digital radio across North Lancashire and South Cumbria as well as on the iFollow Shrimps platform.
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 much more!

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