Take a chance on City
Speaking after Saturday’s comfortable opening-day victory at Exeter, Morecambe boss Jim Bentley said: “I remember when we lost against Barnet last season (assistant manager) Ken McKenna told me that you shouldn’t get too down when you lose or too confident when you win and that advice has stuck with me all this time.”
It is a pearl of wisdom which the rookie manager was forced to call upon throughout last term, such was his side’s inconsistency, and it is that undulating form which prompts us to take on the Shrimps as they host York City on Tuesday night.
After enjoying four straight league successes in August 2011, Bentley’s men didn’t manage back-to-back victories in League Two for the remainder of the campaign. It was that record which swiftly put paid to any hopes of a play-off charge and the manager is wary of a similar situation this time around. Combating it, however, is another matter entirely.
The acquisition of talented striker Richard Brodie, on loan from Crawley, was designed to help in that regard. Kevin Ellison’s ongoing back trouble saw him miss 12 league matches last term, and the absences of the experienced forward undoubtedly played a part in the topsy-turvy results – Morecambe won 36% of their fixtures with the 33-year-old in the side but 23% without him. But there remain further questions which Bentley still has to answer.
However, Brodie faces a significant challenge in midweek, coming up against a defence which knows his game inside out. The 25-year-old spent three successful years with the Minstermen but he has blown hot and cold since leaving Bootham Crescent in 2010 and Danny Parslow ought to be well positioned to disrupt the big Geordie’s gangling game.
While Morecambe were cruising past Exeter, City were slumping to a home defeat at the hands of Wycombe: no shame in itself, but it was the lack of passing purpose which most riled boss Gary Mills.
His charges played their way to success in the Blue Square Bet Premier last term with a fluent counter-attacking style which was particularly effective on the road. For all their midfield flair, City were a disciplined defensive unit on their travels, winning 12 and losing just three of their 23 fixtures. And with Jason Walker prowling on the shoulder of the last man, they are a constant threat on the break.
It is a game plan which should suit Tuesday’s clash. Though the hosts will be full of confidence following their debut triumph, the Globe Arena has not been good to them. Bentley’s side managed just six wins on home turf last season, a record only trumped in its paucity by the two relegated sides.
The visitors, with their manager’s criticisms ringing in their ears, are desperate to make their mark in the Football League after eight turbulent years away and we fancy them to do it at the hands of the inconsistent Shrimps.
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