Morecambe striker earns his manager's backing

Derek Adams has come to the defence of Morecambe striker Cole Stockton by highlighting his importance to the side.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 8:00 am

The Shrimps return to action against Crawley Town tonight (6.30pm), looking to consolidate their place among the League Two pacesetters.

Some have argued that position has come despite a lack of goals from Stockton, who has netted six in 31 appearances this season and missed two chances against Salford City last midweek.

On the other side of the argument, there are those who believe the 26-year-old’s all-round contribution outweighs his return in front of goal – and Adams is one of them.

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Cole Stockton has had a vote of confidence from Derek Adams

“He got himself into good areas and he got one or two opportunities on goal,” he said of Stockton’s Salford display.

“He might not have taken them but, on the Saturday at Barrow, he has created two goals for us.

“He plays a pivotal part in the system that we play and he’s been a key player for us.

“I’ve always said that, with the teams I’ve had, you need other players to score goals and we have the likes of Carlos Mendes Gomes, Aaron Wildig, Toumani Diagouraga and John O’Sullivan chipping in – and Adam Phillips on top of that.”

Morecambe’s lack of a reliance on a consistent scorer is summed up by the way they have distributed the goals so far this season.

Two-thirds of the way through the league campaign and they have seen goals scored by 14 different players – with a further three netting in cup competitions.

Adams acknowledged he prefers to see the goals shared around, rather than relying on one or two players and perhaps becoming a one-dimensional team as a consequence.

“That’s something I’ve always said throughout my managerial career,” he said.

“People clamour for a 20-goal striker but what happens when he doesn’t score goals?

“It’s important to score goals from all over the pitch and we’re one of the highest scorers in the division – and we could be higher still if we had taken more chances.”

Morecambe go into tonight’s game looking to bounce back from defeat at Mansfield Town on Saturday.

The Shrimps went down 1-0, scuppering their hopes of a third straight win following on from the victories against Barrow AFC and Salford City.

Nevertheless, they remain fifth in the table with 15 matches remaining, nine of which are at the Mazuma Stadium.

Illustrating how close the division is, tonight’s visitors are 13th but only half-a-dozen points adrift of Bolton Wanderers who occupy the final play-off spot in seventh.

Adams said: “We’re in a fantastic position, we’ve got 15 games to go and we’re trying to catch the teams above us.

“It’s extremely tight and we just want to keep on going, trying to pick up as many points as we can between now and the end of the season.”

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