Morecambe clinging on for survival

Morecambe will arrive at The Valley on Saturday desperate for points as they try to catch Oxford and escape the bottom four. However, survival seems unlikely with Oxford having a game in hand  and a trip to Forest Green to come. Morecambe meanwhile entertain Lincoln and must travel to Exeter on the final day.

The Shrimps have made an impressive survival effort since Christmas when they were bottom of the table and seven points adrift of twentieth place Accrington. January saw four wins in five games (including 5-0 v Burton and 5-1 v Bristol Rovers) which catapulted them to the relative safety of eighteenth place. Since then, however, there was just one win in fifteen games until their 1-0 victory over Wycombe last Saturday. Scorer of the crucial goal was Cole Stockton but it was only his fifth of the season. Compare that with his 26 last season and you might be close to understanding why they won't survive this time. However, their last away game was a 0-0 draw at Portsmouth so they will be no pushovers.

Owners Bond Group Investments put the club up for sale last September and are waiting for Sarbjot Johal to finalise a takeover. Manager Derek Adams is trying to be positive rather than angry as off-field issues such as late payment of wages continue to affect the squad.

"Anger isn't going to get me anywhere. I'm left to do what I'm left to do. All I'm trying to do is keep our players motivated and ready to go on a Saturday when circumstances around about us are very difficult"

One step he has taken is to sign the former Sengalese international and Charlton left back Pape N'Diaye Souaré until the end of the season. Souaré made little impact in SE7 but he has been part of the defence which has kept clean sheets in Morecambe's last two games. He has been joined at the club by his Senegal colleague Oumar Niasse who was at Everton from 2016 - 2020 having been signed from Lokomotiv Moscow for £13.5m. It is unlikely that there are many current League One players who have commanded such a fee.

Our performance at Milton Keynes on Tuesday went some way to assuaging the anger after the Ipswich debacle and it was good to see Jack Payne score an excellent goal.  Asked if Macauley Bonne will return to his squad this weekend, Holden explained: “I think we’ll see how training goes tomorrow. Like I said before, I spoke to Macauley prior to the game and I made it clear that he’s got to be responsible around social media. I’ll say it again - he didn’t intend to disrespect anyone, certainly our supporters."

Wins against Morecambe and Port Vale (29th April) should be enough to secure a tenth place finish but that would be as good as it gets. After the Cheltenham game on Sunday May 7th interest will be concentrated on the ownership situation and whether the squad will be strengthened for a promotion push next season.