Meet Ipswich Town's opponents: Heady days for Morecambe; odds, stats and facts
- Credit: PA
Ipswich Town open their new season at home to Morecambe this afternoon. MIKE BACON takes a look at the opposition.
HEADY DAYS FOR THE SHRIMPS
If Ipswich Town fans are excited about the new League One campaign, then they may find fans of today's opposition are equally so.
While the history of the two clubs is poles apart, Town having won the Division One title, FA and UEFA Cups, Morecambe on the other hand are in unchartered territory this season. It's their first ever in League One.
Founded in 1920, The Shrimps have never been this high up the football pyramid. They are there courtesy of a Carlos Mendes Gomes penalty in extra-time at Wembley last season in the 1-0 victory over Newport in the League Two play-off final.
So, it's a big day for the Lancashire club, who also boast a proud fact that they, along with AFC Wimbledon, are the only teams in the top four levels of the English game never to have been relegated in their history.
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It was Derek Adams who plotted Morecambe's play-off victory joy last season.
But barely had the celebrations died down, than Adams left to join Bradford City.
So, step forward Stephen Robinson, the new boss at the Globe Arena. The 46-year-old joined the club on a three year deal after spending a successful three and a half years at Motherwell, leading the Steelmen to two Cup finals in one season and a top three finish which also brought Europa League football to the club.
He made 448 appearances during his playing career and had spells with the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, AFC Bournemouth, Preston North End and Luton Town before hanging up his boots in 2008. He also played seven times for the Northern Ireland national team.
It's been a reasonable pre-season, results-wise, for The Shrimps, who drew with both Barnsley and Blackpool, but disappointingly lost striker Jon Obika with a hamstring injury.
That was picked up in last month's pre-season friendly against Burnley, which they lost 1-2, and Obika is expected to be out for up to five months.
However, Morecambe are not short of numbers, apart from in the forward line.
“I could do with a couple more players and no more injuries,” Robinson said this week.
But in general, apart from the forward areas, The Shrimps are in good shape. When asked how much of the starting line-up he had in mind for the Ipswich game, Robinson said: “Probably about seven of them but there’s not a lot between the players.
“There’s a lot of competition but that’s what we want. There will be players disappointed not to start but they will have to get on with it.”
THERE IS PREVIOUS!
This will be Ipswich and Morecambe's first-ever meeting in a Football League fixture.
However, they have met each other twice, both in the FA Cup third round. And both times The Shrimps were a non-league club.
Back in 2001 goals from Marcus Stewart, Jermaine Wright and Alun Armstrong gave George Burley's Premiership side a 3-0 win at Morecambe, while three years later Joe Royle's Blues broke The Shrimps' hearts with a 4-0 win at Portman Road.
On that occasion, Darren Bent (2), Darren Ambrose and Jamie Clapham were on target for Town.
Town are hot favourites to win this opening League One clash for both sides.
Ipswich win 4/6; Morecambe win 19/5; Draw 11/4
DID YOU KNOW?
Eric Morecambe, one half of comedy duo Morecambe and Wise, was born in the town in 1926. However his real name was John Eric Bartholomew and Morecambe is his stage name. In 1999 the Queen unveiled what is a slightly larger than life-sized statue depicting Eric in one of his characteristic poses with a pair of binoculars around his neck (he was a keen ornithologist), on Morecambe sea front. Eric, a big Luton Town fan, died in 1984.