Morecambe boss has been happy to see support in numbers

Derek Adams is looking forward to playing in front of a sell-out crowd when Morecambe welcome Sunderland on the final day of the season.

By Gavin Browne
Thursday, 28th April 2022, 12:30 pm

The match at the Mazuma Stadium sees the Shrimps aiming to preserve League One status and Sunderland hoping to ensure a play-off position.

The demand for tickets on Saturday reflects a campaign in which Morecambe’s promotion to the third tier, combined with an innovative season ticket offer and some strong away support, has considerably boosted the attendance figures.

So far this season, the Shrimps’ home league games have seen 93,385 supporters pass through the turnstiles: an average of 4,265 per match.

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Morecambe's supporters have turned out in force this season

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That level of support is a scenario with which Adams has been unfamiliar in terms of his managerial stints with the Shrimps.

He only took charge of 10 home matches in all competitions before Covid-19 ended the 2019-20 season.

The following year was behind closed doors, except for the limited attendances in the play-off semi-finals and final.

Of the five matches on home soil since Adams’ return in February, only Cheltenham Town’s visit (3,733) has attracted fewer than 4,000 supporters.

The manager said: “To have the last game of the season sold out, and with both teams having something to play for, means the atmosphere is going to be terrific.

“It was great to see a sold-out home crowd against Portsmouth on Easter Monday, the atmosphere was excellent.

“I think that’s the first time it’s happened in the new stadium, so that was terrific.

“Crowds coming back to matches has certainly added to the speed of the game, as well as creating the atmosphere we didn’t have when games were behind closed doors.”

With Crewe Alexandra already relegated, AFC Wimbledon and Doncaster Rovers can mathematically survive if both win and there are some strange results elsewhere.

Realistically though, it is Morecambe, Fleetwood Town and Gillingham who are competing to avoid the final relegation place.

Morecambe sit 19th with 42 points, two clear of Fleetwood and Gillingham with the Cod Army’s goal difference seeing them outside the bottom four.

Nobody has beaten relegation from the third tier with such a low points haul since the 1999-2000 season.

That saw Oxford United finish fifth-bottom with 45: the fewest for a team avoiding the drop at that level since three points for a win were introduced in 1981-82.

As a result, it means their place in the history books will be taken by someone else come Saturday afternoon.

Also to be decided this weekend is the League One top scorer award with two candidates going head to head at the Mazuma Stadium.

Sunderland’s Ross Stewart is the joint highest scorer with 24, alongside Wigan Athletic’s Will Keane, while Morecambe’s Cole Stockton is one behind.

“I’m sure it’s something Cole will enjoy being part of,” Adams said.

“He’s had a terrific season to have scored the number of goals he has – and another couple on Saturday would be nice as well!

“We’re going to try and win the game, we’ve come to the last game of the season and we’re in a position to hopefully secure our safety.”