The last two fixtures looked very tough on paper, and so it proved on grass, and the visit of a club that is as always expected to struggle will hopefully provide some welcome relief to Paul Tisdale. Jordan Moore-Taylor missed the midweek defeat to table-topping Notts County following the knock he picked up at Coventry, and has clearly been missed as City have shipped five goals in the one and a half matches since he departed the scene. Should Moore-Taylor return on Saturday then Troy Archibald-Henville is likely to miss out. One bright note from Tuesday’s defeat was the cameo from Kyle Edwards, the West Brom loanee impressing on his first team debut, although he is likely to remain on the bench, while Liam McAlinden may earn a recall with the Reid-Stockley partnership not looking particularly effective.
After a season where ownership troubles threatened to destabilise what is already one of the smallest clubs in the division, Morecambe at least appear to be on a more stable footing off the pitch, although were immediately installed as one of the relegation favourites this term. They don’t necessarily reckon on manager Jim Bentley, the no nonsense player who has done a fine job since taking the reins five years ago. What his sides tend to lack in pedigree they more than make up for in gumption, and in 86 year old Kevin Ellison, the ultimate pantomime villain, they have someone whose spirit on the pitch will lead to overachievement. That said, the Shrimps go into Saturday’s fixture in 20th place in the table albeit following a creditable 0-0 draw with fancied Luton. Ellison has been the lynchpin with four goals, but scoring is clearly their biggest issue with just nine league goals so far this season.
City have often found Morecambe to be tricky opponents although last season this didn’t appear to be the case. In late October, with City struggling at the foot of the table they travelled to Lancashire and coasted to a 3-0 win thanks to first half goals from Wheeler, Grant and Holmes. The 3-1 scoreline in the return appears comfortable but was due to City finishing strongly. Wheeler put City ahead just after half time, substitute Ellison’s spectacular volley levelled things, before a late Reuben Reid penalty and a fine individual goal from Liam McAlinden sealed the points. Despite a number of tricky contests City do have a strong league head to head lead with eight wins to Morecambe’s three, although ten fixtures have ended level.
Match officials for this game are:-
Referee: Brett Huxtable
Assistant Referees: Louis Marks and Samuel Ogles
Fourth Official: Matt Eva
Just the four games in the middle for Brett. The most recent being the home 3-0 win over Cheltenham back in March (more details of his Exeter games can be found here).