Morecambe and Lancaster City ready for return of friendly
Morecambe and Lancaster City hope their first meeting in eight years will be the start of a lasting relationship between the two clubs.
The local rivals haven’t met since 2009 but will compete for The Bay Trophy at the Globe Arena on Saturday in a pre-season friendly.
The match will raise money for two good causes, the Neil Marshall Memorial Fund, which is supporting the family of the Dolly Blues skipper who died last November aged just 31 after a battle with cancer, and the Shrimps’ chosen charity, Unique Kidz and Co.
A family fun day will run alongside the football with it hoped the game will become a fixture in the calendar for years to come following this weekend’s meeting between Jim Bentley and Phil Brown’s sides.
City did beat a young Morecambe side managed by Stewart Drummond 7-2 at Giant Axe 12 months ago but this will be the first meeting of the senior sides in eight years.
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“I know there is a rivalry there but this is a case of two clubs coming together to put on a day for the family and raise money for two very worthwhile causes,” said Bentley.
“I think it’s great to do something in memory of Neil; he was a player we knew and we’ve got to know his family.
“It’s nice to know that, in times like these, two clubs can stand shoulder to shoulder for the greater good.”
Lancaster chief executive Lawrence Looney hopes the game will be one to remember for Marshall’s family.
“It’s been too long and our working relationship has been quite limited in recent years,” he said.
“Supporting Marshy and Morecambe’s charity has given us the opportunity to bring the game back and work together again.
“The main thing for us is that it is a family day and a great opportunity for us to have a fixture for many years to come.
“I want the fans to bear that in mind.
“There will be a lot of children there and we want a family atmosphere.
“We want Marshy’s family to have it as a day they can look back on with fond memories.”
There is a serious football side to proceedings as well as preparations continue for the new campaign.
Bentley’s players go into the match on the back of Tuesday’s 2-1 win at Bamber Bridge.
Ben Hedley and Garry Thompson scored the goals for the Shrimps at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium, and while Bentley would like a similar result on Saturday, he has one other clear objective.
He said: “While it’s a derby match, we don’t want to lose players to any injuries.
“I’m sure it will be competitive as it always should be but we’re hoping for another good run out and a good test.”
For the Dolly Blues it will be their first friendly and a rare chance to face Football League opposition as they prepare for life in the Evo-Stik Premier Division after their title triumph.
“It’s obviously going to be a tough match for us but the players are excited, especially the local ones,” said chief executive Looney.
“We might have a game like this if we get far in the FA Cup but we don’t get to play on stages like this too often.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to play a league club and for our fans they’ll get a chance to see the new players.”
Tickets for the event sponsored by Bay Radio will be £5 for adults with under 16s free.
The game will kick off at 3pm.