The Shrimps host Accrington Stanley at the Mazuma Mobile Stadium in the first Lancashire derby of the 2023/24 campaign.
Derek Adams’ men head into the fixture on the back of an impressive 2-1 away win against Forest Green Rovers at The New Lawn. Goals from Michael Mellon and Jordan Slew respectively either side of the break was enough to claim victory, despite Matty Taylor’s late consolation.
It was quite the contrast for Stanley, who fell to a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Stockport County. Isaac Olaofe, Will Collar and Louie Barry all netted for the Hatters with Jack Nolan’s 86th minute strike proving too little too late for the home side.
Since promotion to the EFL in 2007, Morecambe have faced off against Accrington Stanley 27 times in all competitions. Of those meetings, we have registered four wins, eight draws and 15 losses.
The last encounter between the two sides came in late December 2022. First half goals from Liam Shaw and Jensen Weir respectively eased the Shrimps to a convincing victory.
Following a disappointing last campaign which saw Stanley relegated to Sky Bet League Two, it’s been a mixed start to 2023/24 for John Coleman’s men, who currently sit 15th in the table.
After their first 10 games, Stanley have four wins, one draw and five losses.
A strong opening day 3-0 victory over Newport County has been followed by heavy defeats against the likes of Notts County, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.
John Coleman is well into his second stint as Stanley boss, having previously spent from August 1999 until January 2012 at the Wham Stadium.
The 60-year-old is now the second longest serving manager in the EFL (behind Harrogate Town’s Simon Weaver) having re-joined the East Lancashire outfit in September 2014.
480 matches later and at the time of writing, Coleman boasts a points-per-match average of 1.45 with 196 wins, 106 draws and 178 losses.
Current top scorer Jack Nolan is into his third season at the Wham Stadium. The winger, who has three league goals to his name so far this campaign, played under current Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper for England U17s. On the international stage, Nolan lined up along with the likes of Bukayo Saka, Brennan Johnson and Curtis Jones.
Central midfielder Tommy Leigh has proven a threat as a provider as well as in front of goal with two goals and assists in 10 games. The 23-year-old was released by Portsmouth as a youngster before playing semi-professionally with Baffins Milton Rovers and Bognor Regis Town respectively. Leigh was then picked up by Stanley, where he’s made 89 appearances to-date since signing in the summer of 2021.
A familiar name to Shrimps fans is former defender Kelvin Mellor, who joined Stanley on a free in the summer. The 32-year-old was part of our 2020/21 League Two play-off winning squad where he made 40 appearances in all competitions. With 453 professional appearances to-date, Mellor brings a wealth of experience to Stanley.
John Coleman’s Pre-Match Thoughts
Coleman enjoyed a lengthy spell with the Shrimps as a player, and ahead of Tuesday night's derby, he highlighted the significance of this fixture for the supporters.
Speaking to BBC Radio Lancashire, he said: "It's something we're going to have to touch on in our meetings today, how important this game is for the fans, and the players have got to realise that.
"I think what we've got to do is not focus on the opposition too much today, we've got to focus on how we approach the game.
"I know our fans have the banter with Morecambe and the rivalry, but I had so many good years there as a player, it's hard for me not to have an emotional tie with them."
Having served a one match suspension following his sending off against Swindon Town, Yann Songo’o is available for selection.
Skipper Donald Love will miss out having picked up his fifth yellow card in our last outing against Forest Green Rovers.
Meet The Officials
Keith Stroud will take charge of the fixture alongside linesmen Andrew Fox and Robert Merchant as well as fourth official Ed Duckworth.
The experienced referee has been the man in the middle of six games so far this season, five of which came in the Championship, with the other falling in Leauge One.
In those fixtures, he has issued a total of 33 yellow cards and one red card. Based in Hampshire, Stroud last took charge of the Shrimps in April 2015; a narrow 2-1 away defeat against Burton Albion.
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