By Alfie Marlborough
We turn our attentions back to League One as we make the 402-mile round trip to Lancashire to take on Morecambe in our sixth encounter of the season! Alfie asked MorecambeFCFeed over on Twitter some questions about the Shrimps and what to expect from them this Saturday. Many thanks guys!
1. Which Morecambe players do you think will cause problems for the Dons?
Assuming Stockton will still be absent, and since the news summer signing Ash Hunter will be out for 12 weeks, the obvious answer is the in-form Arthur Gnahoua. The Frenchman was third in the Shrimps’ ranks for goal contributions last season and has two goals already this season, from driving down the wing and unleashing powerful strikes on his left. Winger Dylan Connolly will attempt to sprint in behind the Dons’ back line, and Caleb Watts, who’s likely to start on the bench, is a livewire in midfield.
2. Morecambe have never been relegated in their 100 years of existence; how long do you think the Shrimps will be able to maintain that record with the Leagues getting significantly tougher!
It’s a record that no other team in the English professional game can match! I’ll never predict a relegation for the Shrimps, even despite our relative stature and modest budget for the level. However, these are the exact things we as a club thrive on, and, under Derek Adams, we’ve got a manager who’s kept us up twice before and has got the togetherness within the dressing room back. The squad looks like it’s gelling with us only conceding more than one just once so far this campaign, but our lack of depth and potential lack of threat going forward may be our downfall.
3. If you could have any Dons player who would it be?
Based on the fact I think our need for a striker or winger is most pressing, especially if Stockton does depart, I would go for Will Grigg as Derek has a knack of restoring players’ confidence and I reckon he could be transformed into a focal point for the Shrimps. If Cole were to stay, I’d go for Dan Kemp to replace Ash Hunter’s creativity from wide areas.
4. Where do you think the Dons will finish this year in League One?
I still fancy MK Dons to finish well inside the top half of the table, despite losing Twine, Kioso, Darling and Parrott among others. The midweek cup win at Watford means I’ll predict 5th as I think you’ll put a very solid run together at some point, however the Ipswich defeat dissuades me from predicting any higher.
5. Who or what made you become a Morecambe supporter?
Nothing particularly out of the ordinary. As a young lad, after watching MOTD every weekend I asked my dad if we could go to a game. He took me along to our local club many years ago and I’ve never looked back!
6. Which Morecambe games are you most looking forward to this season?
Watching the Shrimps match up against Derby on an equal footing will be another great moment for the club.
7. Are you happy with the Shrimps’ start to the season?
I’m reasonably optimistic about it. We’ve had three tough away league games to start the season at Peterborough, Bolton, Oxford and have created presentable chances in each. At home we created more than enough to beat Fleetwood and we’ve had an impressive Carabao Cup run, beating Championship sides Stoke and Rotherham (don’t worry MK Dons fans, we hate the draw as well!). If you exclude the Peterborough game, we’ve conceded just 3 goals from the other 6 which shows we are gelling defensively, however there’s some work to do offensively.
8. Are you happy with Morecambe’s transfer activity this summer?
This summer is the first time in recent memory that we’ve spent two transfer fees in one window (dizzy heights I know!), bringing in 23-year-old central midfielder Jake Taylor from Port Vale and 22-year-old centre half Jacob Bedeau from Burnley, who have both impressed. Our four other defensive signings have impressed and Watts on loan from Southampton looks a very exciting midfield prospect. Derek Adams transfer listed ten players, three of whom we have moved on, however more need to be moved on to create room within the budget constraint.
9. Based on the start of the season, where can you see Morecambe finishing around the end of the season?
Realistically, with the tone from the manager that he feels the budget is tight and needs some new acquisitions, just finishing above the drop-zone is the target, and I trust Derek’s expertise to deliver once again.
10. What Style of play can we expect to see from Morecambe on Saturday?
‘Derek-ball.’ We will set up with a back five and it’s likely the two defensively minded midfielders of Fané and Weir will shadow them. The danger that Morecambe possess is in transition, with the passing ability of Weir and Taylor being able to pick out the runners of Gnahoua and Connolly. If Stockton has recovered from his ‘groin injury’ he will provide the hold-up play to facilitate runners beyond him. You can expect our defenders to put their bodies on the line for the full 90 minutes.
11. Reports are suggesting that Cole Stockton has handed in a transfer request and wants to leave the club, can you see this impacting his performances in the short-term?
He certainly hasn’t looked himself so far this season, however he did come on at half-time at Oxford and impressed. He missed the Fleetwood and Bolton games due to a “doctor’s sick note” and is currently “declared injured.” The stance of the club is that they won’t be ripped off in any deal, so Cole may find himself in a situation where he just needs to buckle down to earn a move next year.
12. The Dons have had a difficult start to the season but are starting to look better each game – with that said, which players do you expect to cause problems for Morecambe on Saturday?
I have a feeling Louie Barry and Dan Kemp could cause us trouble from the flanks if they both start, and I’m also wary of the threat Bradley Johnson brings, especially if we don’t get tight enough to him. Thank god you don’t have O’Riley anymore after his brace at the Mazuma last season!
13. Thanks for taking part, it really helps us understand what we’re coming up against! Finally, what do you think the score will be?
Keeping with our low-scoring results I’ll say a 1-0 win. Anything besides a 0-4 loss again!