Following their shock league draw with Derby County, Morecambe now face yet another tough test with a trip away against Sheffield Wednesday. Friday night will provide both teams with an opportunity to progress the second-roundproper of the FA Cup.
The world’s longest running football competition has the potential to throw up surprises for any team and most of the time, form can provide a wary banana for team to slip over. That being said, Sheffield Wednesday have not lost since their league encounter with Plymouth Argyle back in early October. With 3 wins and 2 draws in their previous 5 games, Wednesday will no doubt prove to be a tough opponent for the Shrimps. Averaging at 2 goals a game in this period, Morecambe should be looking to shut up shop and hope for opportunities on the counter. This is not too dissimilar to how Derek likes to set up his team so it will be interesting to see how Sheffield Wednesday look to break down the Morecambe low block.
One of the hardest tasks for Adams to negotiate this Friday will be the formational inconsistency in Wednesday’s line-up. So far this season, Darren Moore, has deployed several different formations with the main tactical focus being on dominating possession and controlling the game through keeping the ball. Over their past 5 games, Wednesday have averaged 54.6% possession. Another point of note is that in each if the last 4 wins, the Owls have deployed 4 at the back formations with draws and losses coming in the game a back 3 has been played.
Players to Watch
Barry Bannan- Last season’s League One player of the season comes with the pedigree of a top-level player in this division. His consistency is clear and pure class on and off the ball is a remarkable sight. That being said, Bannan still finds himself in the same league as Morecambe and though Shrimps will have to be wary, respect should not be given based purely on past merits
Liam Palmer- Seen as one of the more underrated players of this Wednesday side, Palmer has spent his entire professional career under contract at the Yorkshire based side. Always putting in a shift, Palmer has been played in most defensive and midfield positions on the pitch during his time, Moore has opted to play him in a wing back role for most of this season with the focus on him getting up and down the line with the ball.
Derek Adams’ men faced a 3-0 drubbing in the previous game between the two sides back in mid-September. The game painted Morecambe as heavy relegation favourites, and though that may still be the case, the Shrimps will look to use the recent performances to spur them on. Goals from Windass, Byers, and Smith were the difference against a Morecambe side that hadn’t quite found their footing this campaign.
It is expected that Darren Moore will rest some of his side in this competition. Given this and Morecambe’s recent upturn in form, Derek’ side will look to capitalise on the suggested heavily rotated Owls. Despite this, I still expect Wednesday’s quality to shine through as I think they will come out 2-0 winners to progress to the second round of the FA Cup.