Following the postponement of the Derby County fixture, Morecambe returned to action against Sheffield Wednesday in what turned out to be a dire 3-0 loss for the home side. Needing a first win of the season, the Shrimps head to Forest Green Rovers in search of a much-needed morale boosting victory.
Forest Green won the EFL Sky Bet League Two title last season beating Exeter City to the top spot on goal difference. The club scored the second most goals in the division with Swindon Town notching two more with an impressive 77. With the side winning the league, it is no surprise that FGR players were at the top of most stats. Forward Matthew Stevens scored 23 goals putting him in 2nd for the golden boot and right back Kane Wilson notched 13 assists, the most for any team in the league.
The Green have only recorded two league wins this season of a possible eight beating Bristol Rovers and Accrington Stanley. However, they have faltered to some less than impressive results including a 2-0 loss to Shrewsbury and a 5-0 battering at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday. This being said, the Rovers have also put in notable displays against both Charlton and Lincoln City gaining a point from each game. Forest Green have shown their ability to put their weight around in this division following promotion last season but have also been shown up on numerous occasions already.
Ian Burchnall has been relatively consistent with regards to his set up so far this season. The Gloucestershire based side have been adamant in playing a 3-back formation whilst utilising the attacking abilities of Bernard and O’Keefe as wing backs. This could cause potential problems for the Shrimps as first choice left back Max Melbourne is still side-lined with the injury he sustained against Bolton Wanderers and Donald Love is yet to prove himself as anything special with regards to defensive ability.
Forest Green look to play with creativity and possession to hurt the opposition. Burchnall has used his experience at National League side Notts County to develop a style of play that has the possibility of working in England’s lower leagues. The 50.7% win-rate he had at Notts County over 71 games was enough to see him appointed FGR manager over the summer.
Player to Watch
It is in no doubt that the signing of former Premier League striker Connor Wickham took the league by surprise. The Rovers acquired the forward on a short-term deal after he was released by MK Dons at the back end of the 2021/22 campaign. The Englishman has only started 2 games so far this season and yet is still the club's joint top scorer in the league, both of which rescued a point in the Greens’ only draws this season.
Having reached the third tier for the first time in their history, Forest Green are looking to secure their safety within the division in the upcoming campaign. Much like Morecambe last season, FGR will be looking to steady the ship before providing a platform to propel themselves up the league. Whilst unlikely they will amass anything significant this season, the unpredictability of the EFL may just work in their favour and should results go their way, the Rovers could end the season in a very respectable mid table finish.
The two sides have faced off against each other 8 separate times with the record in fine balance. Each side has recorded 3 wins with two draws also occurring. The most recent outing for the clubs was back in early 2021 when the two promotion chasing sides of League Two held each other out in an enthralling 2-2 draw.