With eight minutes to go on Saturday it looked like “same old same old” as City looked to be heading for an undeserved defeat, but two fantastic goals turned things round and so City enter the first of three successive home matches in the space of a week on the back of a promising four match unbeaten run. Christy Pym performed admirably on his first team debut in place of Artur Krysiak, but the Pole will hope to have recovered sufficiently to step back up from the bench. Matt Oakley got through 70 minutes at Southend although it remains to be seen whether Paul Tisdale risks the veteran midfielder with such a congested fixture list over the next couple of weeks in store. Pat Baldwin may be risked if Oakley misses out, with Scot Bennett likely to fill the Oakley-sized hole. John O’Flynn, Tom Nichols and Saturday’s match winner Elliot Richards compete for the main striker berth, with Jimmy Keohane expected to continue in the support role after scoring his first goal of the season on Saturday.
In what is an incredibly tight mid-table (City could rise to 8th with a win, having been 16th on Saturday morning!), Morecambe’s 2-1 defeat at Rochdale on Saturday saw Jim Bentley’s Shrimps drop below City to 15th. Worryingly for Bentley his side is now without a win in their last seven games since a 1-0 win over Fleetwood on Boxing Day, despite the return to fitness of Jack Redshaw. He scored on Saturday but Rochdale did to Morecambe what Morecambe have been doing all season – coming from behind to seal points, most notably when overturning a 3-0 half time deficit against Chesterfield to win 4-3. As well as Redshaw, much will depend also on Kevin Ellison, a striker with a habit of winding up his opponents before popping up with crucial goals. Ellison is joint top scorer with ex-Accrington forward Padraig Amond with seven, while keeper Barry Roche is always a tough cookie to beat.
Back in August Morecambe recorded their first ever home victory over the Grecians, a second half double from Ellison securing a 2-0 win. City were shocked in this fixture last season on the opening day, what looked a relatively comfortable start to life back in League Two unwound horribly with a 3-0 thumping (two from Andy Fleming and one from Izak Reid). City hold the overall head-to-head lead with five wins to Morecambe’s three (six draws). What price a first home win since October?