Morecambe will arrive for their first ever game at The Valley in twentieth place - outside the bottom four on goal difference alone.
Their survival chances were given a boost when, after two months and twelve games without a victory they managed back to back home wins this month against Burton (3-0) and Oxford (2-1). They are now in a battle with five other clubs to avoid joining Crewe in League Two next season. Their final two games are against Milton Keynes and Sunderland so they will be desperate to get something against us and Portsmouth on Monday.
There cannot be many occasions when a relegated club can boast the League's top scorer but Cole Stockton is currently at the top of the list. The twenty eight year old has had a distinctively average career until this season. In six years at Tranmere he managed 14 goals in 97 appearances and he fared no better in subsequent spells at Hearts, Carlisle and back at Tranmere again. He joined Morecambe three years ago and managed 13 goals in 40 appearances last season. This year, however, he seems to have reached his prime with 22 goals in 40 games so far, including a penalty against us in the 2-2 draw up there in November.
Johnnie Jackson has assured supporters that he intends his team to gain maximum points from the last four games of the season:
"Your players also have self-motivation as well and should have the desire to play well and win every game, that should come from within, that is how we have approached every game and I don’t expect that to change at all."
If you are finding it hard to be motivated for the run-in try looking at it as a mini-league of four teams fighting for twelfth place. Hardly gripping stuff but at least something to aim for. Currently we trail Cheltenham, Accrington and Cambridge by one point despite having far superior goal difference and, with Cambridge going to Wigan on Saturday, a win against Morecambe should ensure that we are at least looking down on Cambridge when we go there on Tuesday evening. You see ? All of a sudden it becomes quite thrilling.
It must have felt like this during the final weeks of the 2010/11 season as Chris Powell's team stumbled to thirteenth place. And look what happened next.........................