Morecambe manager's tribute to his squad ahead of automatic promotion decider

Derek Adams has congratulated his Morecambe players for their efforts this season - whatever the eventual outcome.

The Shrimps host Bradford City at the Mazuma Stadium this afternoon, still in with a chance of automatic promotion from League Two.

They sit fourth in the table, two points behind second-placed Cambridge United and one adrift of Bolton Wanderers in third ahead of their games with Grimsby Town and Crawley Town respectively.

Irrespective of what happens, it’s been an exceptional season from the Morecambe players.

Morecambe's players have had plenty to celebrate this season

Their tally of 75 points is now a club record in the EFL, beating the 73 set by Sammy McIlroy’s class of 2009/10.

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A point would guarantee a minimum finish of fourth place, matching the club’s highest position also set by McIlroy’s squad 11 years ago.

For good measure, they also ended an 18-year wait to play in the third round of the FA Cup and reached the same stage of the Carabao Cup for the first time since 2007.

All of that has taken place against the backdrop of playing without fans - barring the pre-Christmas win at Colchester United - as society dealt with the pandemic.

Adams said: “We have done really well this year, I think the players have got to take huge credit.

“They have come through the situation with the virus, where we have had to get changed in cars, go out and train in bad weather and then go straight back home.

“It’s been really difficult for players all over the country, so that’s going to be one thing they have to take a lot of credit for.”

This afternoon marks the end of a full league and cup season where Morecambe supporters haven’t been able to watch their side in person.

There had been rumours of fans perhaps travelling to the Mazuma Stadium this afternoon to show their appreciation after the game for the team’s efforts over the course of the campaign.

However, while appreciative of the fans’ support, the club has issued a statement asking them not to do so.

The statement said: “As our centenary season reaches a climax this coming Saturday with our final EFL fixture of the 2020/21 season at home to Bradford City, we want to take the opportunity to thank our loyal fans for their brilliant support this season.

“Because of the Covid-19 restrictions, you have endured having to support your club without actually being able to watch the team live, either at the Mazuma Stadium or at football grounds across the country.

“This has not been easy as we have had great success on the field of play and we recognise that it must have been seriously frustrating not to be present, both at EFL games and that standout FA Cup third round tie versus Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

“There have been statements circulating on social media platforms that Shrimps supporters want to acknowledge their heroes after the game on Saturday.

“While we fully understand the sentiment, we cannot be a party to encouraging a large gathering at this moment in time as Covid-19 protocols are still in place and we would hope that you, as responsible citizens and valued Morecambe Football Club supporters, understand our position on this.

“There will be a time and place to be together and safely celebrate the tremendous achievements of Derek Adams his backroom staff, and our awesome squad of players, and when the time is right, we will ensure that happens and you can be part of it.”

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