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Match Previews

Match Preview | Oxford United (H)

17 March 2023

The Shrimps return to the Mazuma Stadium for the second time in a week on Saturday 18 March when they take on Oxford United in Sky Bet League One.

Last time out, Morecambe were beaten 4-1 at home by Charlton Athletic. Donald Love’s second half strike pulled one back for Derek Adams’ side, but the visitors kept the Shrimps at bay to secure all three points.

United were last in action at the weekend and were beaten 3-2 by Derby County at the Kassam Stadium.

The Opposition

The U’s sit 19th in League One with nine wins, nine draws and 18 defeats from 36 league games.

Oxford have been a League One side since they were promoted in 2016. A year later, they reached the Papa Johns Trophy final but were beaten in the final by Coventry City. United had back-to-back play-off finishes in 2020 and 2021 respectively, but were beaten in the 2020 final by Wycombe Wanderers before losing in the 2021 semi-final to Blackpool.

Newly appointed Head Coach Liam Manning spent his career playing as a midfielder in non-league for the likes of Bishop’s Stortford, Leiston and Ipswich Wanderers. Manning began his managerial career with West Ham U23s in 2015. The 37-year-old had a year in Belgium with Lommel SK before joining MK Dons in 2021. Manning left Stadium MK in December and was named Oxford boss on Saturday.

Key Players

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Midfielder Cameron Brannagan has been United’s standout man so far this season. The 26-year-old is the U's top scorer this season with ten goals and has provided one assist. Brannagan spent his early years at Liverpool. While on Merseyside, he made three appearances for the Reds and was sent out on loan to Fleetwood Town. In 2018, the midfielder made the permanent move to the Kassam and has been at Oxford ever since.

Forward Kyle Joseph has also been impressing this season with seven goals to his name; the 21-year-old is on loan at United from Swansea City. Joseph began his career at Wigan Athletic before moving to Wales in 2021. The youngster has made 10 senior appearances for the Swans and spent last season on loan at Cheltenham Town.

Attacking midfielder Marcus Browne has been creating plenty of goals for the U’s this season with four assists and has also netted one goal. Brown started out as a professional at West Ham United and was loaned to Oxford United in 2018 where he made 34 appearances and scored six times. The 25-year-old joined Middlesborough in 2019 and was loaned back to Oxfordshire in 2020 before signing permanently in 2022.

Liam Manning’s Thoughts

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Speaking to the Oxford United YouTube channel, Head Coach Liam Manning admits he is expecting a difficult game at the Mazuma Stadium.

“It’ll be a tough game,” he said.

“Ultimately we want to get three points, irrespective of form or the table, the game is worth three points.

“As always when you go to Morecambe, it is a tough place to go, they’re going to be organised because they’re fighting for everything.”

Team News

Max Melbourne, Jake Taylor and Jacob Bedeau remain sideliend with injury for Saturday's fixture.

Meet The Officials

Sam Barrott will referee Saturday’s game and will be assisted by Alex Gray and Graeme Fyvie. Daniel Woodward is the fourth official.

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Barrott has taken charge of 35 games this season, 15 in League One, six in League Two, four in the FA Cup and Papa Johns Trophy respectively and three in each of the Championship and Carabao Cup.

The official last refereed a Morecambe game in August, a 4-0 defeat against MK Dons at the Mazuma.

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