Morecambe assistant boss grateful for club's backing after taking temporary charge

Diarmuid O’Carroll has thanked Morecambe’s players and staff for their support following his temporary spell in charge.

By Gavin Browne
Friday, 14th January 2022, 12:30 pm

A positive Covid-19 test meant manager Stephen Robinson was unable to lead the Shrimps in their FA Cup tie at Tottenham Hotspur last Sunday.

O’Carroll, the club’s assistant boss, found himself taking the helm at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where Morecambe came within 15 minutes of causing a shock.

Having led through Anthony O’Connor’s first-half goal, they conceded an equaliser to Harry Winks before Lucas Moura and Harry Kane scored in the last five minutes to make the final score 3-1.

Diarmuid O'Carroll took acting charge of Morecambe last weekend

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Robinson is due back in charge at AFC Wimbledon tomorrow but his isolation period meant O’Carroll was on pre-match media duties this week.

Reflecting on his brief promotion, O’Carroll said: “It was some experience but it’s a credit to everyone around me that they took a lot of pressure off me.

“You rely on the boys having respect for you and listening to you, even though I’m not the manager, so little things like that help.

“The boys were fantastic on the pitch, which made for a fantastic day for all involved.”

The news of Robinson’s absence was announced by the club on Saturday morning, a little more than 24 hours before kick-off.

To outsiders, that would appear to indicate a frantic time for the coaching staff but, as O’Carroll explained, the manager’s isolation wasn’t a huge surprise.

He explained: “I had a fair idea on the Friday because the gaffer had tested positive, maybe Thursday.

“He said he’d felt a bit dodgy but he also said I had his full trust, I could call the game as I saw it and make changes as I saw fit.

“We also had a good chat at half-time on the Sunday in terms of what he had seen on TV but he was also in touch with Martin Foyle (head of recruitment), who was on the bench as well.

“He couldn’t have been any more supportive and for someone to have that level of trust in me is brilliant.”

Morecambe had gone into the game as rank outsiders to progress with the bookies.

Only National League club Chesterfield were considered unlikelier to reach the fourth round, given they were at Chelsea.

Though Spurs had made a number of changes, their starting XI still contained England duo Winks and Dele Alli, club record signing Tanguy Ndombele, and Argentine international Giovani Lo Celso.

Then, with the Shrimps 20 minutes from victory, Spurs brought Moura and Kane off the bench.

Winks levelled five minutes later before Moura and Kane scored in the 86th and 88th minutes.

As O’Carroll subsequently admitted, he didn’t realise how close Morecambe had come to creating further headlines.

“I thought they had scored again straight after their equaliser: I didn’t realise it was 86 minutes!” he admitted.

“People tell you you’re 15 minutes away from winning or five minutes from extra time, so it’s mad how close it was to pushing them into extra time.

“Everyone can be really proud. The tactical things worked from our point of view but it was the boys who had to do the running.”

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