When Morecambe were drawn out of the hat in the Papa John’s Trophy, many people thought the potential for about moving the game.
With both Morecambe and us out of the FA Cup, November 26th is a free weekend. It seemed to make sense to many to shift the game – it might mean a better crowd on a Saturday afternoon. Some City fans wondered on social media if we might do it, but it hasn’t happened. Why? According to Derek Adams, the Morecambe manager, that is our choice, not theirs.
“We did try and get the game moved to Saturday,” Adams explained to the Lancashire Guardian. “Lincoln didn’t want to do that; they want to play on the Tuesday night, so we have to go there twice in a few days.”
I can see the attraction for Morecambe wishing to move the game; the extra time to recover ahead of the cup fixture, especially as they’ve got an illness in the squad right now. However, aside from a handful of supporters thinking a Saturday might be better, I can’t see many reasons why we would want to shift it. For a start, the crowd is unlikely to be near 2,500 on Tuesday night, and with the greatest will in the world, that wouldn’t get near 3,500 on a Saturday – it would be the third in a row we’d be at home, which is a stretch for some. Also, would you pay to watch us see the same team on consecutive Saturdays? I’m not sure with it being a Papa John’s game, the crowd would increase.
Let’s also think about the competitive edge – City have no travelling to do for the two matches that are approximately 74 hours apart. We’ll finish Saturday, have Sunday off (you’d imagine) and get two days of training in before Tuesday. Morecambe will have to travel home (three hours), and travel on Tuesday for the same duration – that puts us in a good place. Besides, we earned the right to play at home by winning two of our group matches – Morecambe didn’t actually win a single game; they drew two (won on penalties) and lost the other.
Whilst it does seem a little unfair to expect Morecambe to play twice in four days here in Lincoln, the truth is we’re in the competition to win it – there’s no Southampton in the next round, no route to Wembley blocked by a big gun waiting to shoot us down. We’re surely in with a shout of going all the way, there’s good prize money at stake, so why would we make things easier for Morecambe? It’s harsh that they’ve got the journey to make, perhaps more so that they’re not the richest club anyway, but every marginal gain has to be exploited, and that is probably why we haven’t shifted the tie.
That exasperated the problems for Adams’ side, who are struggling in the league. “We have got a little bit of illness in the squad, so we could be missing one or two on Saturday,” he added. “Ash (Hunter) is still a bit away. I’ve spoken to the medical department, and he’s probably six or eight weeks away yet.”
One face we might see is former Imp Max Melbourne. Max was one of those frozen out by Michael Appleton, and he’s started five times for them, but picked up an injury against Bolton in August. he made his comeback against Danny Cowley’s Portsmouth as a sub – ironically the manager who brought him to Sincil Bank, and he could get his first start since his injury here at Sincil Bank.