Morecambe boss: Players are now able to see out matches

Derek Adams believes Morecambe’s squad has now shown an ability to maintain leads as they look to avoid returning to League Two.
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The Shrimps host Lincoln City on Saturday, knowing they can climb out of the bottom four if they win and other results go their way.

Morecambe head into the penultimate game of the season on the back of consecutive wins, having defeated Wycombe Wanderers and Charlton Athletic in taking seven points from the last nine.

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Both games saw Adams’ players grab the all-important first goal and retain their lead: something they haven’t achieved in nine matches over the course of the season.

Morecambe boss Derek Adams Picture: Jack TaylorMorecambe boss Derek Adams Picture: Jack Taylor
Morecambe boss Derek Adams Picture: Jack Taylor
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Message to supporters

Half-a-dozen leads were turned into draws – the games against Fleetwood Town, Oxford United, Bristol Rovers, Derby County, Portsmouth and Exeter City – while three more against Cambridge United, Ipswich Town and Plymouth Argyle ended in defeats.

That generosity is arguably the principal reason why the Shrimps find themselves in the relegation places with two games to go.

When asked what had changed, especially in the last three games, Adams said: “Nothing has really changed, we’ve just been able to get that first goal.

Jensen Weir has 11 goals this season Picture: Jack TaylorJensen Weir has 11 goals this season Picture: Jack Taylor
Jensen Weir has 11 goals this season Picture: Jack Taylor
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“I think that’s always important, that you aren’t chasing the game in this division, but it’s been an issue in the games we’ve played.

“The last two games, we’ve been in a winning position and been able to see out the game.

“The more inexperienced players have been able to manage the game better over the season and see out the wins.

“That has been important to us but that’s something that comes with experience and it’s great development for them.

Morecambe fans have been thanked for their support this season Picture: Michael WilliamsonMorecambe fans have been thanked for their support this season Picture: Michael Williamson
Morecambe fans have been thanked for their support this season Picture: Michael Williamson
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“We’ve got older players in the squad as well, who have helped us become better and gelled more over the season, so that we’ve got to a point where we’ve got two games to go and we’re still in with an opportunity of staying up.”

Tipped for relegation from day one of last season – never mind this one – Adams and his predecessor, Stephen Robinson, have been swimming against the tide in terms of trying to establish Morecambe in the third tier.

The last two seasons have arguably been the most competitive in the division’s history with a number of clubs boasting big names, budgets, squad sizes and aspirations.

If survival had been considered a success for Morecambe during its first dozen years in League Two, fifth-bottom in League One is a cause for celebration given they’re up against some teams who have previously played Premier League and European club football.

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Given the disparity in finances, it’s left Adams having to build a squad in which young loanees have had to stand up and be counted.

One of those youngsters, Jensen Weir, leads the club’s scoring charts with 11 goals this season and Adams has no complaints with his loanees’ performances.

He said: “I think the youngsters have done really well to be fair: they have all contributed to our season.

“We’ve been competitive from the point of view that it’s a difficult division we’re in and we’ve tried our best to take points.

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“We’ve been fighting on very different fronts this season compared to some of the teams, when we’ve had suspensions, injuries and illness at certain times.

“That’s meant we just didn’t have the players that could have got us the goals or the clean sheets that we needed.

“It is a different ball game though. The top club in our division has a turnover of £18m and we’ve got one of £2m, so that shows the gulf between the top and the bottom.

“We were never going to be fighting against the top teams, we were always going to be fighting in the group at the bottom.”

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With Forest Green Rovers already relegated, four points separate an Oxford United team in 19th from second-bottom Cambridge United.

Cambridge also have a game in hand against Burton Albion next Wednesday with four of the bottom six playing each other in the final two games.

Forest Green host Oxford on Saturday and travel to Cambridge on the final day, Cambridge travel to third-bottom Accrington Stanley this weekend, before Accrington finish the season at Oxford.

Both Oxford and Accrington gave themselves a chance of safety in midweek, defeating Cheltenham Town and Bolton Wanderers respectively.

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Oxford’s victory was their first in 18 matches and moved them three points clear of Morecambe.

Adams’ players now find themselves two points behind MK Dons, who host a fourth-placed Barnsley team that cannot catch the top two nor be overhauled by the chasing pack.

Adams said: “I was at the Bolton-Accrington game and Accrington got a fabulous win there.

“Oxford were always going to win at some point: they couldn’t have continued to go on the run they had with the squad they have got.

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“It just means we go into Saturday’s game and nothing has changed: we have to win the game and we understand that.”

If Morecambe do pick up three points on Saturday, it will be against the backdrop of another excellent turnout from the home fans.

Results might have been up and down all season, there might have been a wage delay last month and Sarbjot Johal’s proposed takeover looks no nearer to being resolved one way or another, but the level of support at the Mazuma Stadium cannot be questioned.

It looks set to be a sellout from the home perspective on Saturday and Adams reiterated how much that support in numbers has benefited everybody this season.

“It would be great to be sold out,” he said.

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“For the players and staff at the football club, just to get that support at the stadium has been really vital.

“I think we will have three and three-quarters of the stands on Saturday: the fans have come out in their numbers to support us and they will certainly be very vocal.”