We continue our 2023/24 FA Cup campaign on Saturday, as we make the trip to Buckinghamshire to face Wycombe Wanderers.
The Shrimps will be hoping for another sprinkling of cup magic, following their triumph over League One outfit Lincoln City at the start of November in the first round. Progression on Saturday would keep Morecambe well and truly in the hat for the third round of the competition, where a cup tie against top-flight opposition could be on the cards, no doubt invoking memories of the Shrimps’ trip to the capital in the 21-22 season to face Tottenham Hotspur for Morecambe fans.
Ged Brannan’s men go into the game after a run of difficult results, including defeat mid-week to Newport County at the Mazuma Mobile Stadium. An early goal from leading goalscorer Michael Mellon did not prove enough for the hosts, as goals either side of the break from the Exiles resulted in a 2-1 loss for Morecambe.
Wycombe made the trip north to Barnsley on Tuesday evening, where the hosts won in bizarre fashion. Goalkeeper Max Stryjek, after delaying picking up the ball in an attempt to run down the clock, came into contact with Barnsley forward Sam Cosgrove. The contact, albeit minimal, resulted in Stryjek fumbling the ball as he fell to the ground, and Cosgrove made no mistake tapping the ball into the empty net.
The Shrimps last travelled to Adams Park in October 2022. A late goal directly from a corner kick from Adam Mayor earned a point for Morecambe. It was another late goal that decided the result in the reverse fixture in April 2023, this time a Cole Stockton volley securing all three points for Morecambe.
Wycombe Wanderers have had a mixed start to their Sky Bet League One campaign. Six wins, four draws and eight losses leave the Matt Bloomfield’s men in 15th place in the table, sitting on 22 points.
Bloomfield has been at the helm at Adams Park since February 2023, after having been the head coach at Colchester United. The 39-year-old spent the entirety of his professional playing career with the Chairboys and is undoubtedly a legend of the club.
Defender Ryan Tafazolli is an important part of the Wycombe defence, achieving a century of appearances for the club. Shrimps’ fans will struggle to miss the 6’5 centre-back and will be hoping the Morecambe frontline are able to find a way past him.
Another experienced head in the Chairboys squad is attacking-midfielder David Wheeler. After joining the club in the summer of 2019, Wheeler has racked up 169 appearances for the Blues, scoring 17 goals and providing 10 assists in the process.
Ged Brannan’s Pre-Match Thoughts
Morecambe manager Ged Brannan spoke about the challenges in the week and looked ahead to this weekend’s clash.
“We played really well in the first half of that game the other day,” he said.
“We need to carry on the way we played first half and take it into the second half; keeping the ball, getting at them at pace like we did. Some of the moves in the first half, we’ve just been watching them this morning with the lads. They were absolutely brilliant.”
He went on to talk about Saturday's trip to Wycombe.
“It’s great for the team and the fans if we get through and get a big team in the next round, it’s all to play for,” he said.
“It could’ve been easier, but there’s not many easy ties in the FA Cup.
“We’re going to go and spoil their party, we’re the underdogs and we’ve got nothing to fear.”
The Man in the Middle
Peter Wright will take charge on Saturday, officiating his 15th fixture of the season. In his previous 14, Wright has given 59 yellow cards, with a further two reds.
Wright oversaw two legs of our 2022-23 campaign, most recently in December 2022 when Morecambe faced Exeter City at the Mazuma Mobile Stadium. On this night, Cole Stockton headed home after a darting run from a corner and secured the Shrimps a 1-1 finish.
He will be flanked by assistants Justin Amey and Ryan Whittaker, with Harry Wager acting as fourth official.
Stuart Moore and Donald Love will both miss out due to their respective injuries.
Audio match passes are unable to be sold for The FA Cup fixtures – only users with monthly & seasonal subscriptions will have access to the live audio commentary.