The Shrimps are back on the road on Saturday 4 February as they travel to Pride Park to take on Derby County in Sky Bet League One.
Last time out, Morecambe made it four straight wins at the Mazuma Stadium with a 5-1 win over Bristol Rovers. Dan Crowley’s goal put the Shrimps 1-0 up before the break and four second half goals from Donald Love, Cole Stockton, Adam Mayor as well as a James Connolly own goal secured the points.
Derby were last in action on Monday night when they were beaten 2-0 at home by West Ham in the fourth round of the FA Cup. In their most recent league game, the Rams ran out 2-1 winners against Port Vale.
Derby sit fourth in League One and have picked up 14 wins, eight draws and five defeats after 27 games.
The Rams are one of the giants in the third tier and have enjoyed plenty of success since their formation in 1884. Derby are two time First Division, now the Premier League, champions. The Rams have won the second tier four times and were FA Cup winners in 1946 when they beat Charlton 4-1 in the final.
Head Coach Paul Warne spent his playing career as a midfielder, playing for the likes of Wigan, Rotherham, Oldham and Yeovil. Warne began his managerial career in 2016 when he took the Rotherham United job. The 49-year-old was appointed Rams boss in September 2022.
David McGoldrick has been the main man in front of goal for Derby this season. The 35-year-old has netted 11 times and provided three assists this season and is one of the most experienced players in County's side. The Rams' number ten has spent time with Southampton, Nottingham Forest, Ipswich and Sheffield United before moving to Pride Park in 2022.
McGoldrick’s striker partner James Collins has also been in impressive form this season. Eight goals is the 32-year-olds tally for the season so far, but the striker is still looking for his first goal of 2023. Collins has found the back of the net at every club he’s played at, most notably 68 goals in 174 goals for Luton Town between 2017 and 2021. The striker has also represented the Republic of Ireland at senior level.
Whilst McGoldrick and Collins have been scoring the goals for the Rams this season, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing has been creating them. The winger has scored six goals this season and chipped in with eight assists. After a number of loan spells at the start of his career, Mendez-Laing has had permanent spells with Rochdale, Cardiff, Middlesborough and Sheffield Wednesday before joining Derby in the summer.
Paul Warne’s Thoughts
Speaking to Rams TV, Derby Head Coach Paul Warne is expecting the Shrimps to ask his side plenty of questions on Saturday.
“They are going to come here on a really good run with a bit of positivity,” he said.
“They’ll be thinking they can frustrate us and they can impose themselves on us and they will try to.
“This game is no easier or harder for me, they’re the same games, they just ask different questions.”
Jake Taylor, Max Melbourne and Courtney Duffus remain unavailable for Saturday’s game due to injury. Jon Obika won’t be involved after joining Motherwell on loan earlier this week.
The Shrimps will be boosted by the addition of deadline day signing Josh Austerfield who has joined on loan from Huddersfield and is available to make his debut on Saturday.
Meet The Officials
Craig Hicks will referee Saturday’s game and he’ll be assisted by Adam Ricketts and Helen Edwards. Mark Cunliffe will be the fourth official.
So far this season, Hicks has refereed 19 games, eight in League One, five in League Two, four in the Papa Johns Trophy and one in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup respectively.
Hicks last officiated a Shrimps game in August 2021, a 2-2 draw at Ipswich Town.
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