We take a look at Morecambe to see how they're shaping up for 2013/14.
Despite being unfancied for success with the bookmakers, can Morecambe spring a surprise and go one better than 2009/10? To find out when we'll be facing Jim Bentley's side, visit the official website on June 19th.
Morecambe won promotion to the Football League in 2007, under the guidance of Sammy McIlroy. The Shrimps defeated York City in the Blue Square Premier play-offs before heading to Wembley Stadium. Despite Lee Phillips giving Exeter an early lead, Morecambe battled back and Garry Thompson netted just before half time. The Lancastrians won it when Danny Carlton smashed into the net with only eight minutes of the game remaining. They’ve been in League 2 ever since, the closest to getting out of the division was in 2009/10 when they reached the play-offs, only to lose in the semi-finals to Dagenham and Redbridge. The club moved into their new ground, the Globe Arena in August 2011, after having Christie Park as their home ground since 1921.
The Morecambe manager is 36-year-old Jim Bentley. Bentley, who spent nine years as a player for the Shrimps, has been in charge at the Globe Arena since May 2011. The big defender retired from playing duties in 2013, preferring to concentrate on the managerial side of things rather than his player/manager role. Prior to joining the Shrimps in 2002, Bentley spent five years at Telford United where he played over 150 games. He began his footballing career at Manchester City, coming through the youth ranks before being released.
Goalkeeper and club captain Barry Roche is likely to continue as the club’s number one, a role he has held since joining Morecambe in 2008. The 31-year-old has previously had spells at Chesterfield and Nottingham Forest. In defence, long serving Andy Parrish, 31-year-old Chris McCready and left back Robbie Threlfall should be regular fixtures in the side. Expect Tony Diagne to feature in 2013/14 after signing from Macclesfield Town. In midfield, Andrew Wright and Ryan Williams are likely to be joined by former Wrexham player Andrew Fleming and player/coach, Stuart Drummond. Up front, Bentley will hope to add a few more strikers to his squad to help out youngster Jack Redshaw. The 22-year-old scored 16 goals in all competitions for the Shrimps last season, and will want a similar tally in 2013/14.
Experienced campaigner Kevin Ellison will want to replicate his season last time around where he scored 13 goals from midfield in all competitions. The 34-year-old, who has played for the likes of Leicester City, Rotherham United and Chester City, joined Morecambe in 2011 and has been a regular in his two years at the club.
Morecambe eventually finished in 16th place, comfortably away from relegation and 11 points off the final play-off place. A decent start saw them travel to neighbours Blackpool and win 2-1 at Bloomfield Road in the Capital One Cup. Other highs include beating Barnet 4-1 and away at York, winning by the same scoreline. The last day of the season saw the Shrimps come to Roots Hall and win.
The recent arrival of Tony Diagne from Macclesfield Town will give Bentley another option in defence. A number of players, including Andrew Fleming, Kevin Ellison, Andreas Arestidou and Stuart Drummond signed new deals with Morecambe at the end of the season. However, Gary McDonald, Nick Fenton and Will Haining have turned down the terms offered to them and have left the club. Another to leave the Globe Arena is Jordan Burrow who has moved to Stevenage, after informing Bentley that he wouldn’t sign a new deal with Morecambe.
BLUES vs. MORECAMBE:
Home: Blues 0-1 Morecambe
Blues suffered defeat on the final day of 2012/13 when Andrew Fleming scored the only goal of the game on 34 minutes, robbing Sean Clohessy of possession before slotting in from close range.
Blues: Smith, Clohessy, Straker, Cresswell, Prosser, Leonard, Lund, Hurst, Eastwood (Assombalonga, 57), Corr (Njie, 84), Tomlin (Pinnock, 65)
Unused: Bentley, Phillips, Laird, Auger
Away: Morecambe 1-0 Blues
Again, it was only one goal that proved the difference between the two sides. Jack Redshaw scored two minutes from the end, as Morecambe, who had Richard Brodie sent off, earned themselves a valuable three points back in October.
Blues: Smith, Clohessy, Straker, Cresswell, Leonard (Phillips, 89), Barker, Timlin (Spicer, 49), Martin (Clarke-Harris, 83), Hurst, Assombalonga, Tomlin
Unused: Bentley, Coughlan, Eastwood, Benyon
Morecambe are 14/1 to win promotion this coming season.