PREVIEWS AND EARLY TEAM NEWS
Stag night will be hard going
By Matt Donlan
SAMMY McIlroy is wary of the threat posed by struggling Mansfield Town - and says his Shrimps must take their chances when the travel to Field Mill on Tuesday night.
The party seemed over for the cash-strapped Stags just a few weeks ago but two wins from three games, including Saturday's success at Wycombe, has seen Billy Dearden's men lift themselves from the drop zone.
And McIlroy knows that his old mate Dearden will do all that he can to stun the Shrimps.
"It will be a tough game against Mansfield," says McIlroy. "They are fighting for their lives and got a result on Saturday and it will be difficult.
"They have match-winners in their side and Billy Dearden, who is a friend of mine, will have them right up for the game.
"Michael Boulding is a good striker and scored for them here at Morecambe and will have to be watched in the box for sure."
But McIlroy is equally aware that he is in charge of a good team and knows that the pre-season target of 50 points is just one win away.
He adds: "The games are coming thick and fast now and we want to get enough points on the board to be mathematically safe and then kick on.
"We are nearly there now but I wish we had got the points on Saturday and now the main thing is to pick them up when we can.
"We have done so well this season and my players are a credit to the club and the supporters.
"The finishing let us down on Saturday and I am sure if we get the chances again the boys will take them."
Mansfield v Morecambe
Mansfield captain Jake Buxton (knee) and midfielder Lee Bell (foot) are injury doubts for Morecambe.
Simon Brown is available for selection after serving a one-match suspension against Wycombe but Martin McIntosh (calf) remains sidelined.
Morecambe boss Sammy McIlroy can pick from a fully-fit squad yet again as his side seek to return to winning ways.
The Shrimps slumped to their first loss in four games on Saturday losing 1-0 at home to Macclesfield.
Doubts over duo as Dearden pursues defender
STAGS skipper Jake Buxton and midfielder Lee Bell are both major doubts for tomorrow night's crucial home clash with Morecambe.
Buxton took a knock on his knee during Saturday's fine 2-1 win at Wycombe while Bell has a badly bruised foot.
"Neither of them will train today and we will just have to see how they are when they report tomorrow," said boss Billy Dearden this morning.
"Alex John-Baptiste is back with us today but he has been out so long he will need a good week's training and then we can take in from there.
"He won't be considered tomorrow."
Dearden still intends to bring in an experienced centre half and it could happen in time for the Morecambe game.
It looked like the player would come in on Friday until his club suffered two knocks in training and kept him as cover for Saturday, though he didn't figure in the end.
"I have rung the club a few time his morning but not been able to get hold of the manager yet," said Dearden.
"I will keep trying. I am still pursuing it, even if it is for the weekend rather than tomorrow. I still need a centre half. I don't want to get caught short with that position again"
Play-off hopefuls Morecambe were beaten 1-0 at home by Macclesfield on Saturday.
But Dearden said: "Morecambe are a good side and, having lost at home on Saturday, will come here tomorrow trying to do what we did at Wycombe on Saturday and bounce straight back away.
"We went there early in the season and were comfortably beaten.
"They do have one or two good players but Morecambe are more about a good team effort. They have a very good work ethic that Sammy (McIlroy) has instilled in them.
"I saw them play Darlington two weeks ago and was very impressed."
Stags are once again looking to record back to back wins for the first time to try to lift them further away from the bottom two.
"We keep talking about it but we have got to do it," added Dearden.
"We have been like a yo-yo at the bottom this season and bounced up from bottom spot three times. Now we are looking down on two other sides and we need to get a result to get further away from them."
In an otherwise impressive first season in the Football League, Morecambe have stuttered of late with just one win in their last six outings.
Latest | February 2008