Oppositions View - Morecambe

Last updated : 24 January 2008 By Gary Moss
How do you assess your sides recent form?

Well the last couple of games have gone a bit pear shaped to be honest. They got beaten last week by Darlington despite dominating for pretty much all of the game. And on Saturday at Shrewsbury it was the worst performance for many a season.
McIlroy...Class act

Has it been a shock to have adapted to life in League so well?

I think it has been more of a shock to outsiders. I mean Sammy McIlroy has been there done it and got the t-shirt, so there is the feeling of injustice given the pre-season coverage of Morecambe. They were tipped to go straight back down and that was never on the cards with McIlroy in charge and the way the club is set up.

How about the great Carling Cup run? How special was that?

Yes, to go to Preston our local rivals and usually we have a friendly with them in August was great. So to go there and turn them over deservedly in the League Cup was the stuff dreams are made of. And on the night at
Artell...Winning goal against local rivals Preston
Wolverhampton it will live long in the memory of everyone who was there.

What has been then most pleasing about the season so far?

The fact that everyone in the town is smiling still. The play-off final in May last year changed the face of the football club and put Morecambe on the map. People are pinching themselves still that 'Little Morecambe' are in the Football League. As I say they are also a very good side in this division so far.

What about McIlroy?

McIlroy is getting all the plaudits. I think we would give him the freedom of the town if that was up for grabs. The attendances have virtually doubled and there is still a feel good factor around the area and the team. Some people are pinching themselves.

Have expectations now increased after such a great start?

A lot of people are talking of play-offs now but that is quite possibly a bridge too far in the first season. The squad is still very limited in terms of numbers. I'm sure they would like a few more faces in. They may be looking before
Baker...Hot prospect
the end of January and there is nothing to stop them from making a late push. The football is certainly good enough and apart from Saturday they look a good side.

Who is your danger man?

Carl Baker from Southport, who is the clubs record signing. He is a fantastic player who has attracted the attention of both Blackpool and Wolves funnily enough.

Who else should we look out for?

Garry Thompson on the right wing. He is as quick as anybody. Also, Craig Stanley in the centre of the park who is a former England non-league captain. He has settled into the Football League like a duck to water. Matty Blinkhorn i
Sam...String of chances at Meadow Lane
s in rich form at the moment. he was on loan last year and he scored eight in ten games to push them into the play-offs. He had a slow start this time, he was playing OK but he just wasn't getting the breaks. Suddenly, he is on fire at the moment. Dave Artell and Jim Bentley have been a backbone for success at the back as well. Artell is a good solid defender and alongside Bentley it is very solid. He is lethal from set-pieces too. He is a big traditional centre half and a fantastic leader for the side.

What did you make of the sides last meeting?

It was 1-1 at Meadow Lane but if Hector Sam could have finished the game would have been over in the first 15 minutes. Morecambe rode their luck that day but the more they practice the luckier they become.

What have you made of Notts' season so far?

I am surprised to see them where they are. I thought Notts County would be really challenging. It is a big club with a great tradition and history. I had them down as one of the divisions danger sides. I knew SteveThompson very well. I used to work in Yorkshire and had several dealings with him. He didn't have much luck when he was at Notts County. I always thought he was a bright
McParland...Good competitor
up and coming manager. It will hurt him. Sometyimes you don't get the breaks as with McIlroy when he went to Stockport. That was the only time he tasted failure in his career. I'm sure Steve Thompson will bounce back. As for Ian McParland, he was a decent player, he was always a hard competitor and I'm sure that will rub off on his players.

Who do you see as Notts' danger man?

Hector Sam is one man that whenever I have seen him play he has been the sort of striker who is a danger. He has been excellent everywhere he has been but for some reason he has not transfered his best form to Notts.

Where do you see Morecmabe finishing this season?

I have said all season that finishing 22nd or above would be the main aim. I think they can certainly get a top ten finish now though. If they make the play-offs it's a bonus. It is a small squad which is still finding its feet in the Football League. The club has had an amazing run and with the spirit in the camp under McIlroy anything is possible.

Where do you see Notts finishing this season?

They will get away from trouble. I cannot see beyond Wrexham and one other from Mansfield or Dagenham going down. There is no danger for Notts. Cream rises by the end of the season.

What sort of encounter are you expecting this time around?

If it carries on raining it will be an absolute battle in the mud when Notts come here. It should be a decent game because if I remember rightly County got the ball down and tried to play their own way and Morecambe certainly do. It should be very entertaining.

Any team news?

Artell faces a race to be fit for Saturday. There are no suspensions.


I'll go for my usual 3-1!