Morecambe's players are reaping the rewards of their adaptability

Derek Adams has praised his Morecambe players for their versatility as they head into the festive period on the crest of a wave.
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The Shrimps’ win at Colchester United last weekend lifted them into fifth place in League Two with the halfway point of the season approaching.

What has been noticeable so far is their ability to mix and match formations and styles in order to get results.

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Adams has switched between three and four at the back, as well as opting for a more direct approach if his preferred passing style isn’t working.

It's been an excellent first half of the season for Morecambe boss Derek Adams and his assistant, John McMahonIt's been an excellent first half of the season for Morecambe boss Derek Adams and his assistant, John McMahon
It's been an excellent first half of the season for Morecambe boss Derek Adams and his assistant, John McMahon

He said: “I think, in this division, you’re going to come up against different styles of teams and you’ve got to adapt.

“As well as that, you’ve got to look at the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition and that’s what we’ve done well as a team.

“We’ve analysed the other team and the players have done that as well when they are on the pitch.

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“We played really well against Colchester, going there after them being on an unbeaten run at home.

“It was a very big result because it’s a tough venue to go to but, over the 90 minutes, we played really well and created a number of really good opportunities.

“We hit the post twice, hit the bar, scored two goals, and the amount of chances we’re creating is very good.

“We just need to take them and score more goals but we’ve created a number of opportunities and that’s the good thing.”

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It isn’t just the position in the league table that reflects Morecambe’s transformation during Adams’ first full season in charge.

Their home form has previously had its ups and downs but they finished the curtailed 2019/20 campaign with only one defeat in 11 against visiting sides.

That trend has continued into the current season with the heavy defeats to Cambridge United and Newcastle United being the exception rather than the norm at home.

Adams’ players have won their last five matches in all competitions at the Mazuma Stadium, where they have only lost one of their last 10 outings this season.

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For good measure, the 31 points recorded so far is one fewer than their overall total for last season and have been achieved in almost half the games.

It leaves them four points off the top three and six points adrift of leaders Newport County AFC with only 10 points separating the top 13 clubs.

Given Morecambe’s perennial position at the wrong end of the table, it begs the question of just how long they can continue to fly under the radar compared to those clubs with bigger profiles and ambitions to match.

In the last seven days alone, Adams has been linked with managerial vacancies at Ross County and Bradford City.

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The manager’s focus, however, remains on picking up as many points as possible during the Christmas and New Year games against Grimsby Town, Bolton Wanderers and Bradford City.

Adams said: “We’re 19 games into the season and we have got 31 points.

“We want to add to that tally and we have put ourselves in a very good position.

“There are a lot of very good teams in the division and we know we have to improve our goal difference.

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“It’s very tight in the league at the moment if you look at the points totals.

“From my point of view, we just have to keep picking up the points.”

The club’s league progress has also been mirrored in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup this season.

January 10 sees Morecambe head to Chelsea for their first round three tie in 18 years, while they also reached the same stage in the Carabao Cup after a 13-year wait.

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That progression, plus the condensed fixture list as a result of the later start to the season, means Morecambe’s squad will be put to the test.

“The number of games we’re going to play this season will be about 55 including cup competitions,” Adams said.

“We have had a lot of games in a short space of time, playing Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday for much of the season so far.

“When it’s like that though, there’s an opportunity to pick up a lot of points and we have done well.”

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