Morecambe v Derby County
Morecambe’s second ever season at third-tier level continues to be one of difficulty. The Shrimps have just two wins to their name, the lowest of any side in League One, and have sat inside the relegation zone since the second weekend of the season. Their lowly tally of 12 goals is the fewest of any team in the division, not helped by a goal-drought experienced by Cole Stockton. The 28-year-old was in high demand after a 23-goal season in 2021-22, but has yet to register a single goal this term. Morecambe have instead found themselves thankful for the goal output of Huddersfield Town loanee Kieran Phillips, and on Saturday saw youngster Adam Mayor score from off the bench to earn a 1-1 draw at Wycombe Wanderers. This was a match however where Wycombe had two further goals disallowed.
Morecambe and Derby County met competitively for the first time ever on Tuesday, with the Rams buoyed by a recent 4-2 victory at home to Bristol Rovers. A change of formation from a 3-5-1-1 to a 4-2-2-2 was rewarded with a first career hat-trick for David McGoldrick. The 34-year-old was partnered by fellow Irish International James Collins up top, with electric Sheffield United loanee Will Osula a quality alternative in the striker position. The change of formation moved Nathaniel Mendez-Laing from wing-back to a more comfortable attacking midfield position, and he would provide the assist for two of McGoldrick’s three goals. With Conor Hourihane and Max Bird occupying the base of midfield and Haydon Roberts and Korey Smith operating as full-backs, the new-look Derby line-up impressed in a lively first half at Pride Park on Saturday, followed by a professional and comfortable second 45 to prevent the 4-2 scoreline from changing.
One of their games in hand on others around, Derby County have the opportunity to climb up into the play-off places with three points at Morecambe. Under Liam Rosenoir, Derby struggled to barely register goals let alone points away from home. Under Paul Warne however, the Rams have won two of three games on the road, the single-goal defeat to Ipswich Town potentially being the moment which prompted the change to a more suitable formation. Derby fans will not only be expecting to win this game at the Mazuma Stadium, they’ll be keen to see their team win by a comfortable margin.
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