Shrimps Signings - A look at the new boys

As recent reappointment, Derek Adams, looks to secure yet another season in League One for his side, there has been a lot of activity on the transfer market. With 8 players being placed upon the transfer list following the conclusion of the 21/22 campaign, Adams will be looking to bolster his squad with incomings. This article will look to give a brief overview of each signing already made so far in the window.



Connor Ripley- Goalkeeper

Goalkeeper Connor Ripley joined Morecambe on a free transfer after his contract at Preston North End finished. With experience in League One, Shrimps’ fans will hope that Ripley can improve the backline with his performances in the upcoming season. Ripley has been touted as a similar keeper to former Shrimp Kyle Letheren, his stocky build, limited agility, and distribution range mean the comparisons are fair and apt. Despite this, Ripley has a lot more self-awareness. In the 20/21 and 21/22 seasons, Letheren was a bit of a hot head with a lack of composure, something that would have undoubtedly cost the club had his foul in the 2021 playoff final been properly called. Connor will look to build a more stable and grounded foundation to his Morecambe career, however, performances in preseason so far against lower league opposition have seen some questionable mistakes made by the Geordie goalie.


One thing to note regarding Ripley’s transfer is the man he is replacing. Trevor Carson arrived at the Mazuma last January on a short-term loan to little fanfare. His imposing figure and incredible reflexes saved Morecambe in many games and was one of the standout players in the second half of last season. Therefore, Connor Ripley will have some big shoes to fill between the sticks if he is to live up to the expectations the Carson set.


Donald Love- Right Back

Arriving on a free transfer from Salford City, Love comes into a position that is already well filled. Ryan Cooney and Ryan McLaughlin both started games last season under each manager and even for a brief period so did midfielder Shane McLoughlin. Hence, the acquisition of the former Manchester United man is a puzzling one on the surface. Looking at last season’s right backs, it is fair to say that neither possessed the quality needed for the level Morecambe were and are playing at. Defensively liable and a non-threat in attack, it is clear an upgrade was needed. Donald Love comes with plenty of experience in all four professional leagues in English football.


In preseason so far, the Mancunian born full back has produced several above average attacking displays. Marauding right wing runs into green space are his bread and butter and he will take any opportunity to deliver a cross into the box. This can only pair well with the fine finishing of Cole Stockton. Although, Love’s defending has seen some criticism as many of the goal conceded against Middlesbrough, Chester, and Macclesfield came from crosses down the right flank. Whilst preseason is never an amazing indication to the ability of individuals and teams, it is worrying that most of the goals shipped in this time have been created within his domain.


Farrend Rawson- Centre Back

Farrend Rawson is a commanding aerially proficient centre back. Brought in on yet another free transfer from Mansfield Town, Rawson comes with the reputation of a Derek Adams style player. Dominant in the air and a no-nonsense approach to chance creation and possession retention, Farrend Rawson is the epitome of what Adams likes in a centre half. In which case, it is no wonder why he is the only central defender the Shrimps have signed so far this window. One limited aspect of Rawson’s game is his pace. This being said. his positional awareness and Morecambe’s usually deep defensive line could help cover up the cracks in Rawson’s agility and movement.


Max Melbourne- Left Back

The 23-year-old joined Morecambe on a free transfer after his time at Lincoln City had finished. Neat and tidy on the ball, Melbourne’s best asset is his dribbling and ball progression. He has shown that he is not afraid to take on opposition players to create a better opportunity for teammates in attacking areas. This ball progression is a positive aspect of his play, but it is hard to determine how much freedom he will be given in the current setup knowing that Adams likes to keep his full backs deep. This was shown last season as then starting left back, Greg Leigh, got shifted to the bench to accommodate for more defensive-minded players out wide. Even though Max has good ball progression, his composure when under pressure has raised some questions. This paired with his limited 1-on-1 defending could mean that he will have to fight his way into Derek’s starting eleven ahead of Liam Gibson.


Jake Taylor- Centre Midfield

Taylor helped with impressive performances in the playoff semi-finals and final to help Port Vale reach League One. As a result, Morecambe have agreed an undisclosed fee to bring the former Valliant seaside. At only 23, Jake Taylor will no doubt be seen as an option for the future. This being said, preseason performances have left Shrimps’ fans impressed with the young midfielder's grit and determination showing a complete desire to win tackles and press opposition players. Another valuable aspect of Taylor’s style of play is his neat and sharp passing. When in possession, he always looks to offload the ball the quickly, no matter the situation, keeping the play moving and the attack more positive. Although Taylor has shown many commendable areas of his game, he will be looking to improve his aerial ability and finishing if he is to make a bigger impact on games in the future. Another concern of the new centre mid is his injury record. Problems and complications mainly with a recurring quad injury meant that Taylor only played in 11 of a possible 46 League Two games last season. On top of this, Jake did not complete a single 90 minutes in all competitions last campaign which could suggest that his fitness may not be up to the level that is needed for the high intensity work of a Derek Adams midfielder.


Caleb Watts- Centre Midfield

Southampton youngster, Caleb Watts, joined the Shrimps on a season long loan this summer. The English born Australian will be looking to make a substantial impact as Morecambe look to secure safety once again in Sky Bet League One. His attacking mindset and forward passes are what Morecambe will be looking for to replace Aaron Wildig, who recently departed to Newport County following 7 years at the club. However, these are big shoes to fill and relying upon the untested youngster to provide the midfield with a calm yet inspired presence could be pushing Watts out of his depth completely. With Caleb being only 20 years old, he has only had limited time outside of youth football such as the Premier League 2. Watts did have a 6-month loan spell with Crawley Town last season but 18 minutes into his debut, the attacking midfielder sustained a hamstring injury that meant he did not play again during his loan. Given the already limited squad at the Mazuma, Morecambe will be hoping Watts can keep his fitness up and provide for the Shrimps on the big stage.


Ash Hunter- Left Wing

The productive winger joined Morecambe on a free transfer from Salford City earlier this month following a successful ‘trial period’ where he scored the winner against Stalybridge Celtic whilst he was considering the offer. The 26-year-old Derby born wide man has an impressive amount of experience in the third tier of English football where he enjoyed 5 successful seasons at Fleetwood. Following a move to Salford city in 2020, Hunter continued his impressive form including a stunning long-range brace against the Shrimps in 20/21. This also produced the best post-match interview in football from Derek Adams. Clearly impressed by the winger, Adams has brough him in to help ease the pressure off forward Cole Stockton and should help contribute with goal and assists. With his arrival, the position of wide forwards is well stocked as Hunter joins Connolly and Gnahoua in fighting it out for two of the starting spots in Morecambe's setup.

As recent reappointment, Derek Adams, looks to secure yet another season in League One for his side, there has been a lot of activity on the transfer market. With 8 players being placed upon the transfer list following the conclusion of the 21/22 campaign, Adams will be looking to bolster his squad with incomings. This article will look to give a brief overview of each signing already made so far in the window.

Connor Ripley- Goalkeeper

Goalkeeper Connor Ripley joined Morecambe on a free transfer after his contract at Preston North End finished. With experience in League One, Shrimps’ fans will hope that Ripley can improve the backline with his performances in the upcoming season. Ripley has been touted as a similar keeper to former Shrimp Kyle Letheren, his stocky build, limited agility, and distribution range mean the comparisons are fair and apt. Despite this, Ripley has a lot more self-awareness. In the 20/21 and 21/22 seasons, Letheren was a bit of a hot head with a lack of composure, something that would have undoubtedly cost the club had his foul in the 2021 playoff final been properly called. Connor will look to build a more stable and grounded foundation to his Morecambe career, however, performances in preseason so far against lower league opposition have seen some questionable mistakes made by the Geordie goalie.


One thing to note regarding Ripley’s transfer is the man he is replacing. Trevor Carson arrived at the Mazuma last January on a short-term loan to little fanfare. His imposing figure and incredible reflexes saved Morecambe in many games and was one of the standout players in the second half of last season. Therefore, Connor Ripley will have some big shoes to fill between the sticks if he is to live up to the expectations the Carson set.


Donald Love- Right Back

Arriving on a free transfer from Salford City, Love comes into a position that is already well filled. Ryan Cooney and Ryan McLaughlin both started games last season under each manager and even for a brief period so did midfielder Shane McLoughlin. Hence, the acquisition of the former Manchester United man is a puzzling one on the surface. Looking at last season’s right backs, it is fair to say that neither possessed the quality needed for the level Morecambe were and are playing at. Defensively liable and a non-threat in attack, it is clear an upgrade was needed. Donald Love comes with plenty of experience in all four professional leagues in English football.


In preseason so far, the Mancunian born full back has produced several above average attacking displays. Marauding right wing runs into green space are his bread and butter and he will take any opportunity to deliver a cross into the box. This can only pair well with the fine finishing of Cole Stockton. Although, Love’s defending has seen some criticism as many of the goal conceded against Middlesbrough, Chester, and Macclesfield came from crosses down the right flank. Whilst preseason is never an amazing indication to the ability of individuals and teams, it is worrying that most of the goals shipped in this time have been created within his domain.


Farrend Rawson- Centre Back

Farrend Rawson is a commanding aerially proficient centre back. Brought in on yet another free transfer from Mansfield Town, Rawson comes with the reputation of a Derek Adams style player. Dominant in the air and a no-nonsense approach to chance creation and possession retention, Farrend Rawson is the epitome of what Adams likes in a centre half. In which case, it is no wonder why he is the only central defender the Shrimps have signed so far this window. One limited aspect of Rawson’s game is his pace. This being said. his positional awareness and Morecambe’s usually deep defensive line could help cover up the cracks in Rawson’s agility and movement.


Max Melbourne- Left Back

The 23-year-old joined Morecambe on a free transfer after his time at Lincoln City had finished. Neat and tidy on the ball, Melbourne’s best asset is his dribbling and ball progression. He has shown that he is not afraid to take on opposition players to create a better opportunity for teammates in attacking areas. This ball progression is a positive aspect of his play, but it is hard to determine how much freedom he will be given in the current setup knowing that Adams likes to keep his full backs deep. This was shown last season as then starting left back, Greg Leigh, got shifted to the bench to accommodate for more defensive-minded players out wide. Even though Max has good ball progression, his composure when under pressure has raised some questions. This paired with his limited 1-on-1 defending could mean that he will have to fight his way into Derek’s starting eleven ahead of Liam Gibson.


Jake Taylor- Centre Midfield

Taylor helped with impressive performances in the playoff semi-finals and final to help Port Vale reach League One. As a result, Morecambe have agreed an undisclosed fee to bring the former Valliant seaside. At only 23, Jake Taylor will no doubt be seen as an option for the future. This being said, preseason performances have left Shrimps’ fans impressed with the young midfielder's grit and determination showing a complete desire to win tackles and press opposition players. Another valuable aspect of Taylor’s style of play is his neat and sharp passing. When in possession, he always looks to offload the ball the quickly, no matter the situation, keeping the play moving and the attack more positive. Although Taylor has shown many commendable areas of his game, he will be looking to improve his aerial ability and finishing if he is to make a bigger impact on games in the future. Another concern of the new centre mid is his injury record. Problems and complications mainly with a recurring quad injury meant that Taylor only played in 11 of a possible 46 League Two games last season. On top of this, Jake did not complete a single 90 minutes in all competitions last campaign which could suggest that his fitness may not be up to the level that is needed for the high intensity work of a Derek Adams midfielder.


Caleb Watts- Centre Midfield

Southampton youngster, Caleb Watts, joined the Shrimps on a season long loan this summer. The English born Australian will be looking to make a substantial impact as Morecambe look to secure safety once again in Sky Bet League One. His attacking mindset and forward passes are what Morecambe will be looking for to replace Aaron Wildig, who recently departed to Newport County following 7 years at the club. However, these are big shoes to fill and relying upon the untested youngster to provide the midfield with a calm yet inspired presence could be pushing Watts out of his depth completely. With Caleb being only 20 years old, he has only had limited time outside of youth football such as the Premier League 2. Watts did have a 6-month loan spell with Crawley Town last season but 18 minutes into his debut, the attacking midfielder sustained a hamstring injury that meant he did not play again during his loan. Given the already limited squad at the Mazuma, Morecambe will be hoping Watts can keep his fitness up and provide for the Shrimps on the big stage.


Ash Hunter- Left Wing

The productive winger joined Morecambe on a free transfer from Salford City earlier this month following a successful ‘trial period’ where he scored the winner against Stalybridge Celtic whilst he was considering the offer. The 26-year-old Derby born wide man has an impressive amount of experience in the third tier of English football where he enjoyed 5 successful seasons at Fleetwood. Following a move to Salford city in 2020, Hunter continued his impressive form including a stunning long-range brace against the Shrimps in 20/21. This also produced the best post-match interview in football from Derek Adams. Clearly impressed by the winger, Adams has brough him in to help ease the pressure off forward Cole Stockton and should help contribute with goal and assists. With his arrival, the position of wide forwards is well stocked as Hunter joins Connolly and Gnahoua in fighting it out for two of the starting spots in Morecambe's setup.


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