Defender Ryan Delaney sits down to discuss his first 12 months at the Mazuma Stadium, the disappointment of last season and hitting the ground running this campaign.
After signing for the Shrimps in June 2021, becoming Morecambe’s fourth signing under former boss Stephen Robinson, Ryan Delaney couldn’t predict how his first year at the Mazuma Stadium would pan out.
Fourteen appearances later, a loan opportunity presented itself, in the form of Sky Bet League Two strugglers Scunthorpe United.
Following a difficult first 12 months, the 25-year-old returned to pre-season under new manager Derek Adams and aimed to prove a point.
“I wasn’t up to my performances last year, I knew that myself,” he said.
“I needed to get games under my belt, I was in and out a lot last year, especially the first six months, I just needed to get regular football.
“I knew the [Scunthorpe] manager at the time, and I felt it was the right fit for me to go play games and get myself back really. I feel like I play my best football when I get a rhythm, so that was my main thought process between that last year.
“I went off in the off season and tried to give myself the best possible chance that I could come back into pre-season.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park, it’s been nothing like that, I knew it was going to be difficult, but I said ‘look you’ve got to put your head down’, I wasn’t happy with how my season went last year and I just wanted to re-build, like a fresh start, put my head down and see where that got me.”
Four games into the new season and Delaney has been ever-present, playing all three League One matches as well as our victory over Stoke City in the Carabao Cup.
Not only has he played every minute, but he’s claimed multiple Man of the Match performances and earned himself a position in the Sky Bet League One Team of the Week.
Despite his upturn in performances, the Wexford-born man refuses to get carried away.
“I’ve started the first couple of games, so I’m just looking to build on that and hopefully keep up the performances,” he added.
“I’ve put a lot of work in this summer, it’s obviously really good to get those accolades and whatever praise, but I just have to keep going now and not let it get to my head. Just take it game by game and hopefully I can kick on.
“It can’t be taken personally, it’s a ruthless business to be in, it happens all the time, everyone in football knows and at different clubs, it happens just as much, but I’ve had to put the personal side away from it and just crack on.
“That’s how it is, this business, nothing can be taken personally, you’ve just got to take it, it can be taken away from you so quickly, so you’ve got to appreciate the good times as well as the bad, and hopefully I can kick on.”
In the opening four games of the season, Morecambe have picked up two draws and one defeat, as well as a famous Carabao Cup Round One win over Stoke City on penalties.
Reflecting on his side’s start to the season, Delaney says certain performances have warranted more than the result would suggest.
“It’s not been a bad start,” he said.
“We’ve taken points from Shrewsbury and Fleetwood when, in both games, we’ve had spells where we probably could’ve taken all three, it didn’t work out like that.
“Looking at the Peterborough game, they’re obviously a really strong team, they came down from the Championship, they’ve got Championship quality and they probably gave us a sucker roll really, they finished their opportunities on the day, and were probably deserved winners.
“The Cup run can give you a bit of a buzz around the place, I think at the start of the season, obviously we’ve got a couple of draws and to win on penalties, it’s exciting, getting in the next round, looking who you get and hopefully we can push on into a cup run.”
Shortly after Morecambe’s famous League One survival day at the end of last season, the Club’s retained list was published, an early indicator that there would be a number of personnel changes within the first-team squad.
With just over two weeks of the summer transfer window remaining, Derek Adams’ squad has seen nine arrivals and 10 departures.
Despite these changes, Delaney was quick to compliment the mood in the dressing room, saying: “We’ve got a great group to be fair, on a day-to-day, if anyone see’s us jumping around, they’ll think we’re kids, never mind adults!
“It’s a really good group, we’ve got a lot of great characters and, I think as a team and as a unit, it’s really tight knit which is important, especially so soon into the season. Sometimes it can take a while for a team to bond off-the-pitch as well as on-the-pitch, from the first few days of pre-season, we really intermingled and I think it’s a really good group, we’re really getting on together."
Looking ahead to Tuesday night’s trip to the University of Bolton Stadium and it’s an opportunity for Delaney to star against his former employers, where he spent 18 months, scoring three goals in 27 appearances in all competitions.
On the prospect of facing Ian Evatt’s men, Delaney added: “It’s an exciting game, a big fan base they have there, a great stadium obviously, especially from the history of playing in the Premier League so no, it’ll be good to go back there and play.
“We’re looking forward to the game and we believe we’ve got the credentials and the talent to put it to them.
“Players, staff, supporters as well, everyone’s in the same predicament with that everyone’s excited for the game, and I’d imagine they’re the exact same on their side of it, so it’ll be an exciting encounter between the two teams.
“They’ve started the season really well, they’ve got a great team and great staff as well, but we’ve got to put that to one side, anything can happen on the day, and it’s kind of who’s at it on the day really, so we’re going to make sure we put ourselves in the right frame of mind and in the right position to put ourselves in the best possible position to do that.”