Hughes: Exeter game just as important as Newcastle

Mark Hughes.
Mark Hughes.

Morecambe captain Mark Hughes says this Saturday’s League 2 clash with Exeter is just as important as the big Capital One Cup tie against Newcastle four days later.

The Shrimps will go in search of their first league win of the season against the unbeaten Grecians at the Globe Arena.

And Hughes says there is no danger of the players being distracted by the televised cup clash against the Premier League giants next week.

The central defender said: “Obviously everyone’s looking forward to Newcastle and we’ve all spoken about it but Saturday is just as important as Wednesday.

“Maybe not to the chairman, but to us players we have 46 games in the league and we only have a couple in the cup so the league form’s important.

“We don’t want to be slipping, we want to be as high in the table as we can.

“Exeter are a good team, I’ve played against them before and they’ve had a good start.

“They’re a good, strong team in this league and they’ll be hard to beat.”

Jim Bentley’s side are also looking to bounce back from a forgettable 3-0 defeat at Portsmouth last time out and the Shrimps skipper believes they showed the League 2 title favourites too much respect.

He said: “We were a little bit naive early doors.

“We knew if we kept the crowd quiet they’d probably turn on them but we gave them a leg up and they were 2-0 up after 20 minutes.

“And when we went down to 10 men it was pretty much game over and a matter of keeping it to a respectful score which we did and we maybe could have nicked a goal.

“We can take positives out of the second half because I thought we did well.

“If we can go to Portsmouth with 10 men and do well then we’ve got nothing to fear.

“Maybe what we have been doing is giving teams a little bit too much respect.”

The Shrimps are anxious to get their first League 2 win under their belts, but Hughes insists nobody is panicking in the camp.

He said: “It’s early doors, there’s no crisis, we’re only three games in.

“There’s a lot new faces and a lot of injuries and I don’t like to blame anything but over the last three weeks I’ve had three different partners at the back.

“Little things like that, people don’t realise it’s not easy. The lads are starting to get back now and hopefully we can get a settled team.

“There’s good lads in there and we said after the game the other day we have to roll our sleeves up and have a go and we’ve got lads who will do that and back each other.

“Training’s been good this week and we’re all looking forward to Saturday.”