Morecambe boss eyes further new arrivals ahead of new season

Stephen Robinson would like to reinforce his Morecambe squad further ahead of their first League One match on Saturday.

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 8:00 am

The Shrimps make their debut in the third tier at Ipswich Town, fewer than 10 weeks after winning the promotion play-off final against Newport County AFC at Wembley.

In that time, Robinson has replaced Derek Adams in charge with 15 new players also coming into the club.

However, one of those, Jon Obika, is now out for up to five months with a hamstring injury, while Rangers loanee Josh McPake missed last Saturday’s 1-1 friendly draw with Blackpool at the Mazuma Stadium.

Jonah Ayunga joined Morecambe last week

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“I could do with a couple more players and no more injuries,” Robinson said in the aftermath of that game.

“It (Obika’s injury) is a huge blow. We knew that may be the case but he’s had his operation and that’s why we brought Jonah (Ayunga) in.

“Jon is the nicest boy in the world and they say bad things happen to nice guys in football but he will be back fitter and stronger.

“Josh was out with an ankle injury, so we aren’t sure how long he’s going to be out for but he’s been really good.

“I think we are a bit short in the forward areas for now.”

If the Shrimps are to play the 4-3-3 formation deployed against Blackpool, the absences of Obika and McPake leave Cole Stockton, Jonah Ayunga, Arthur Gnahoua, Wes McDonald and Freddie Price competing for the three spots up front.

There are also good options in other departments with Kyle Letheren and Jokull Andresson competing to start in goal, while Sam Lavelle, Anthony O’Connor and Ryan Delaney are bidding for two spots in the centre of the Morecambe defence.

Further forward, the starting midfield three last weekend of Toumani Diagouraga, Aaron Wildig and Alfie McCalmont all impressed with the trio of Callum Jones, Shane McLoughlin and Adam Phillips hot on their heels.

It leaves Robinson with a welcome headache in terms of who to leave out of the starting XI at Portman Road.

When asked how much of the starting line-up he had in mind, Robinson said: “Probably about seven of them but there’s not a lot between the players.

“There’s a lot of competition but that’s what we want. There will be players disappointed not to start but they will have to get on with it.”

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