BIG MATCH PREVIEW – ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
Mansfield Town are tonight aiming to avoid a third successive League defeat for the first time this season and end a shaky spell of three defeats in four and only one win in seven on their trip to Morecambe (7.45pm).
Manager Adam Murray said some players’ confidence was low after the side were booed the end of Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat by Luton Town.
After heavy rain the game required a 3pm precautionary pitch inspection.
The Shrimps are three places and three points behind Mansfield and had won two and drawn two of four games before last weekend’s 3-1 defeat at table-topping Northampton Town.
The two sides are yet to face each other this season, though meet again at One Call Stadium in two weeks.
The last clash saw Morecambe win 2-1 at home with goals from Paul Mullin and Kevin Ellison, Simon Heslop with the reply, in the 2014-15 season.
Click HERE to see highlights of that game
STAGS TEAM NEWS
Stags’ treatment room is much quieter now with strikers Adi Yussuf and Chris Beardsley back in action and left back Mal Benning back in full time training and hoping to return to the squad tonight or at the weekend.
Boss Adam Murray did say a couple of unnamed players were touch and go with kicks from the weekend, but he was hopeful they’d pull through in time.
MORECAMBE TEAM NEWS
Barry Roche could return to the side against Mansfield, the goalkeeper having missed the Northampton defeat through illness.
Aaron Wildig and Aaron McGowan continue to battle hamstring problems.
But Morecambe should have Paul Mullin available as he looks for his 10th goal of the season after notching against Northampton Town on Saturday.
POSSIBLE MORECAMBE STARTING XI
Roche, Beeley (captain), Dugdale, Parrish, Wilson, Goodall, Fleming, Barkhuizen, Devitt, Ellison, Miller.
KEY BATTLE: KRYSTIAN PEARCE v SHAUN MILLER
The Stags defence will have to keep a very close watch on in-form striker Shaun Miller.
Aiming to recapture the form that saw him star in League Two with Crewe Alexandra, Morecambe summer signing Miller is already on 11 goals for the season.
The 28-year-old, who likes to play on the shoulder of the last defender, scored 19 goals in the 2010-2011 season for the Alex before sealing a move to Sheffield United in the summer of 2012.
However, after picking up a cruciate knee ligament injury with the Blades, he moved on to Coventry City, spent time on loan with Crawley and York City last season before being released.
Click HERE to see an interview with Shaun Miller after winning League Two Player of the Month for October.
MORECAMBE ONE TO WATCH: JAMIE DEVITT
While Shaun Miller is banging in the goals, much of his supply line is coming from midfielder Jamie Devitt.
Devitt, 25, can operate as a winger or No.10 and is the club’s top assist maker.
He and Miller both complemented each other in recent interviews with their partnership possibly the difference between a mid-table and top-seven finish for The Shrimps.
Boss Jim Bentley has admitted he may have a tough job keeping hold of two players who are out of contract in the summer.
A former Republic of Ireland U21 international, Devitt has also previously played for Hull City, Darlington, Shrewsbury Town, Grimsby Town, Bradford City, Accrington Stanley, Rotherham United and Chesterfield.
Click HERE to see Jamie Devitt in recent action against Carlisle United.
OPPOSITION MANAGER: JIM BENTLEY
A club legend, Jim Bentley was the captain in the Conference play-off final at Wembley when Morecambe won promotion to the Football League in 2007.
Has been manager since May 2011, making him the fourth longest serving in the Football League.
He began his playing career as a defender at Telford United in 1997, moving to Morecambe in 2002.
In June 2010, Bentley was appointed player-coach, having spent the previous season in a coaching role with the reserve team.
On May 13 2011, Bentley was appointed the player-manager of Morecambe on a two-year contract, but since then he has concentrated on the managerial role and has not played a competitive match since taking on that post.
He signed a two-year contract extension with the Shrimps on October 10 2013 and a further two year contract extension was agreed on August 29 2015.
Click HERE to see Bentley speaking after their win over Stags 11 months ago.
MORECAMBE SEASON SO FAR
The Shrimps made their customary fast start to the season, but a patchy end to 2015 saw them slip into the crowded pack of clubs hoping to make a run at the play-offs.
They were unbeaten in four before defeat at table-topping Northampton on Saturday and will now hope a run of three home games in seven days, starting with Mansfield, can see them gain ground on the top seven.
Tuesday, 10th February 2015: Morecambe 2, Mansfield Town 1
Poor first half defending saw Mansfield Town succumb to a fourth consecutive away loss as they slid back into relegation trouble at the bottom end of League Two with defeat at Morecambe.
The Stags had given themselves some much-needed breathing space with a morale-boosting home victory over Stevenage at the weekend.
But as other struggling teams picked up points, the concession of two goals inside the first 25 minutes from strikers Paul Mullin and Kevin Ellison ultimately cost them dearly.
Simon Heslop’s first goal for the club since netting at Portsmouth in October gave Adam Murray’s side some hope – especially as it came with two-thirds of the game still to play.
Yet while Mansfield did firm things up at the back in the second half, they were unable to force a leveller, allowing the Shrimps to arrest their own recent dip in form by running out victors.
The defeat, Mansfield’s 10th on the road in League Two of the season, left them just two points clear of the relegation zone, with only Cheltenham, York and Hartlepool below them.
Click HERE to read a full match report
THE GLOBE ARENA
The game is a pay-on-the-day fixture for away supporters, priced at adults £21, concessions £17 and U19s £6 for seats in the Main Stand.
Concessions apply to over 65s and students (in full time education, proof of student status must be produced).
To drive there, Exit the M6 at junction 34, then take the A683 towards Lancaster and take the A589 towards Morecambe.
Go straight across two roundabouts passing a McDonalds outlet on your left.
At the next roundabout (where there is a Toby Carvery) take the first exit into Westgate Road (signposted West Promenade, Sandylands).
Continue along this road for about one mile and you will reach the stadium (LA4 4TB) on your right.
Match report and reaction at www.chad.co.uk tomorrow.