Morecambe are back in action at the Mazuma Stadium on Saturday 22 January when they take on League-leaders Wycombe Wanderers in Sky Bet League One.
The Shrimps come into the game on the back of a 2-1 defeat at home to high-flyers Wigan Athletic. Cole Stockton put Morecambe ahead in the 7th minute, however a Will Keane leveller just before the break and a second-half header courtesy of Stephen Humphrys meant the visitors took home all three points.
The two sides have met 19 times overall and the Chairboys have largely had the upper hand. Wanderers have won ten of those meetings and the Shrimps have won four. The points have been shared between the two teams on five occasions.
In the reverse fixture, Wycombe beat the Shrimps 4-3 in a thrilling encounter. Morecambe went two up within the first half-hour thanks to goals from Alfie McCalmont and Adam Phillips, however the hosts got back on level terms after the break and took the lead in the 73rd minute before Jonah Ayunga equalised in the 80th minute. Curtis Thompson delivered the killer blow in the 92nd minute when he scored the winner for Gareth Ainsworth’s men.
Wycombe sit one point clear at the top of Sky Bet League One, but have Wigan Athletic breathing down their necks in second who have four games in hand on the table toppers. Last time out, they saw off Play-Off hopefulls Oxford United by two goals to nill at Adams Park.
As a player, Ainsworth made over 550 senior appearances including 141 for Queens Park Rangers where he also had two spells as caretaker Manager. The 48-year-old was appointed Wycombe caretaker-boss in September 2012 following the dismissal of Gary Waddock before being handed the job on a permanent basis two months later. He also made over 100 appearances as a player for the Club.
In 2020, he guided the Chairboys to the Championship via the Play-Offs for the first time in their history. The Chairboys were relegated back to League One on the final day of last season.
Striker Sam Vokes arrived at Adams Park in the summer from Stoke City. The 32-year-old made over 200 appearances for Burnley, scoring over 50 goals. Vokes came through the youth setup at AFC Bournemouth and broke through to the first team back in 2006. Despite being born and raised in England, Vokes is eligible to play for Wales and has made over 60 appearances for the Dragons. So far this season, he leads Wycombe’s scoring table with eight goals.
Charlton Athletic youth product Brandon Hanlan was another summer signing. The 24-year-old’s previous clubs include Bristol Rovers and Gillingham where he represented both clubs in League One. He also spent time on loan at Colchester United and Bromley during his time at Charlton. This season, the forward has scored six goals for the Chairboys.
34-year-old Gareth McCleary has scored six goals so far this season. The former Jamaica international has also contributed with five assists. McCleary made over 100 appearances for Nottingham Forest before he joined Reading where he spent eight years between 2012 and 2020. He made the move to Adams Park in November 2020.
Shrimps’ pre-match thoughts
Manager Stephen Robinson said the Shrimps have proved they can compete against the Chairboys.
“I have to say out of the teams we’ve played, Rotherham and Wycombe were our two biggest challenges," he said.
"We were 2-0 up against Wycombe so we’ve proved we can play against them, we can compete against them but tough, tough side to play against.
“Different than Wigan, balls will be in our box at every opportunity, they go a bit more direct, they’re very good at what they do and when they land on the ball they’ve got quality.
“It’ll be a different fight, a different test for us but we still have to try and play our football.”
Aintsworth's pre-match thoughts
Ahead of the fixture, Gareth Ainsworth has said his side need to be at their best if they're to come away with anything from the Mazuma Stadium.
He said: "I'm from up that way and I know what it's like, I know what the conditions will be this time of year.
"I also know that Morecambe hasn't been a happy hunting grown really, home or away, I say happy, it's been an average hunting ground.
"We've got to be at our best for this one because they're a good side, they had a good result midweek, although they got beat, I think Wigan are one of the strongest teams in the League.
"They [Morecambe] scared them [Wigan], they took them all the way, and who can forget the 4-3 at Adams Park?
"It's going to be a tough game, as always."
Meet the officials
Referee Ben Toner will take charge of Saturday’s game. The Lancashire-based official will be assisted by Paul Newhouse and Helen Edwards. Andy Haines will be the Fourth Official.
Toner has taken charge of 20 games this season in League One, League Two and various cup competitions. He has awarded 51 yellow cards and three reds.
Last time he took charge of the Shrimps was on Tuesday 28 September when Morecambe beat Lincoln City 2-0 at the Mazuma Stadium.
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 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 much more!