Morecambe v FC Halifax Town: Opposition focus

editorial image

Former Town loanee A-Jay Leitch-Smith is the dangerman for Morecambe on Saturday, according to Gavin Browne, who covers the club for the Morecambe Visitor newspaper.

Morecambe are 20th in League Two having won five, drawn two and lost 10 of their 17 league games so far this season.

Manager Jim Bentley is the longest-serving manager in English football, having been in charge of the club since May 2011.

Bentley joined Morecambe in 2002 and during his nine-year playing career there, much of it as captain, made 298 appearances, scoring 29 goals.

His popularity at the club was exemplified when supporters clubbed together to cover the £1,00 fine he received from the Football Association in January 2017 over a disciplinary matter.

Bentley’s men started the campaign with nine defeats from their first 10 games, including a 6-0 opening day thrashing at Crewe, and defeats to Preston in the League Cup and Carlisle in the Football League Trophy.

But their second win of the season at home to Macclesfield on September 22 heralded an upturn in fortunes, which was the start of a run of four wins, two draws and four defeats in their last 10 matches.

Only three teams in League Two have scored fewer home goals than Morecambe, who have lost more home league matches than any other side in the division.

“They’re playing well with some good attacking, passing football which has not had the results it’s deserved so far,” said Browne.

“A-Jay Leitch-Smith and Rhys Oates are the top scorers with five goals so far this season while Zak Mills has impressed at right-back.

“Leitch-Smith has been a bright and intelligent presence, linking play well between the midfield and attack.

“They’re playing a more attacking style this season, getting the ball down, passing it nicely and breaking at speed through their wide players.”

Browne says have a lengthy injury-list to contend with going in the game.

“Club skipper Barry Roche (thigh strain) missed the weekend win against Yeovil Town; Andy Fleming, James Sinclair and Lamin Jagne are out for the long-term, Garry Thompson is returning from a ruptured Achilles sustained in April and Andrew Tutte has been absent of late.”

Browne added that Morecambe’s possible line-up will depend on Roche’s fitness and whether their loan players are eligible to play.