Morecambe welcome MK Dons to the Globe Arena tonight with manager Jim Bentley acknowledging a tough task awaits his players.
The Shrimps meet a Dons side who sit third in League Two on the back of five consecutive wins.
For their part, Bentley’s players go into the match buoyed by the weekend’s 3-0 win against Forest Green Rovers – their third in five games after the victories at Port Vale and Oldham Athletic.
That lifted the Shrimps eight points clear of the relegation places with 10 games of the season remaining.
Bentley said: “They are all tough games but MK Dons are one of the fancied sides.
“They had a good win at the weekend, they are at the right end of the table.
“With any opposition, we respect them and look over them but we know it will be a tough game.
“We scored two goals against Yeovil, three on Saturday, and recently went to Port Vale and Oldham and won, so we aren’t in bad form. It puts a smile on people’s faces, it breeds confidence and positivity between all of us and everyone has to have that attitude coming into this game.”
As well as a chance to put further daylight between themselves and the bottom two, tonight’s match also offers Morecambe a chance to atone for defeat earlier in the season.
The Shrimps were beaten 2-0 when they travelled to the Dons at the end of November.
Two long-range Alex Gilbey goals proved the difference as Paul Tisdale’s side went top of the table that night.
“If I remember rightly, we had some good chances,” Bentley said.
“We hit the post, A-Jay Leitch-Smith had an opportunity and we had worked on things where we could hurt the opposition as well as where they are likely to hurt us.
“It was a tight game but we kept going and looked like we were going to equalise.
“They are a good side, there’s no denying that, they have a good manager and they are expected to bounce back to League One – it’s a big club, it’s the best set-up in the division.”
Morecambe’s weekend win was aided by the return of Aaron Wildig in the centre of midfield.
Having been out since picking up an injury on Boxing Day, he took advantage of Jordan Cranston’s suspension and helped inspire the Shrimps to three points.
“He’s an enthusiastic person who’s been here for a few years and he knows what it means,” Bentley said.
“It was a good performance by him and it’s nice to have a quality player like him back.”