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Match Previews

Match preview: Morecambe v Gillingham

11 February 2022

The Shrimps return to action at the Mazuma Stadium on Saturday 12 February when they host Gillingham in Sky Bet League One.

Stephen Robinson's side come into the game on the back of a 2-1 defeat away at Lincoln City in midweek. The hosts went 2-0 up inside 20 minutes thanks to goals from Morgan Whittaker and Cohen Bramall before Toumani Diagouraga halved the deficit ten minutes into the second half. The Shrimps couldn’t find an equaliser in the remainder of the half and therefore went home empty-handed. 
 
Morecambe have beaten Gillingham once in nine meetings since 2008. The 2-1 victory came in October 2011 at the Mazuma Stadium when Garry Hunter and Kevin Ellison found the back of the net for the Shrimps. The Gills have beaten Morecambe five times, including this season’s reverse fixture and three meetings between the two teams have ended with the spoils shared. 
 
The Opposition
 
Gillingham also find themselves in the League One relegation zone. They’re one place and four points worse off than the Shrimps, however they have won two of their last three games including a 1-0 victory over Cambridge United in midweek.
 
Neil Harris was appointed Gills boss at the end of January following the dismissal of Steve Evans. As a player, the 44-year-old spent time on loan at Priestfield from Nottingham Forest. He made over 35 appearances for the Kent-based club. During his playing career, he also represented Cambridge City, Cardiff City and Nottingham Forest, not forgetting two spells at Millwall where he made nearly 300 appearances. 
 
After retiring, Harris took up a coaching role with the Lions and was appointed first team manager in April 2015 after a spell in temporary charge. In his first full season in the hot seat, the former-striker guided Millwall to the League One Play-Off Final, but were beaten by Barsnley. They made no mistake the following season and overcame Bradford City in the Final to win promotion. Harris spent 14 months in charge at Cardiff City between 2019-21, but was dismissed after a poor start to the season. He joined Gillingham on a two-and-a-half year deal.
 
Key players
 
Top scorer Vadaine Oliver has seven goals to his name so far this season. The 30-year-old is a familiar face to Morecambe fans after making over 60 appearances for the Club between 2017-19. Oliver came through the youth setup at Sheffield Wednesday and has gone on to play for a number of Clubs, including Lincoln City, York City and Northampton Town before arriving at Priestfield in August 2020.
 
30-year-old Danny Lloyd arrived at the Kent club in the summer from Tranmere Rovers. After coming through Southport’s Academy, Lloyd spent time in non-league before he attracted the interest of Peterborough United and earned a move to the London Stadium. The midfielder dropped back down to the National League in 2018 when he signed for Salford City. Lloyd has scored five goals so far this season for Gillingham and has contributed with two assists. 
 
Defender Robbie McKenzie arrived at the club in August 2020 following release from his home-town club Hull City where he came through the Academy and made over 25 senior appearances. The 23-year-old has scored three goals this season for the Gills.
 
Shrimps’ pre-match thoughts
 
Morecambe boss Stephen Robinson said a win will keep the Shrimps a good distance away from the Gills.
 
“Gillingham had a little bounce in the last two games, they’re probably looking and thinking ‘we’ll try and catch Morecambe first and foremost’,” he said.
 
“We can almost keep them a good distance away from us and, again, bring people back into the race, but there’s going to be one out of four, five teams go down out of that group of teams.
 
“If we get a settled side between now and the end of the season, I’m confident we’ll pick up results.”
 
Meet the officials 
 
Peter Wright will be the man in the middle on Saturday and will be assisted by linesmen Paul Graham and Kevin Mulraine. Lewis Raper will be the Fourth Official. 
 
The Merseyside-based referee has taken charge of 24 games so far this season and has awarded 74 yellow cards and two red cards.
 
The last time that Wright took charge of the Shrimps was last season away at Scunthorpe United in League Two. The points were shared following a 1-1 draw. 
 
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 on 103.5FM, 107.5FM and DAB+ digital radio across North Lancashire and South Cumbria as well as on the iFollow Shrimps platform.
 
Joining host Dave Salmon and the Club's Media Assistant Matt Smith is Shrimps midfielder Freddie Price, 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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