Morecambe manager: Tottenham Hotspur trip is fantastic for the fans
Stephen Robinson hopes Morecambe’s supporters enjoy their day out at Tottenham Hotspur tomorrow, irrespective of the result.
The Shrimps’ second consecutive FA Cup third round appearance brings another away day in the capital against a Premier League side, following on from last year’s loss to Chelsea.
They have a date at one of the biggest and best grounds in world football, though Robinson won’t be there after a positive Covid-19 test ruled him out.
Nevertheless, he believes the day out is due reward for the way the supporters have got behind the club - and himself - during its maiden season in League One.
A unique season ticket offer, seeing prices reduced the more that were purchased, has helped contribute to an average gate of almost 4,000 for their league games so far.
“The town has been brilliant to me,” Robinson said.
“I’d never been to Morecambe before but I’ve bought a house here.
“People told me I was mad but I don’t understand why, we’re by the seaside and the people here are so friendly and amenable.
“In terms of the fans, the regular crowd was in and around 1,200 and now we’re getting 4,000.
“For a club like Spurs, that means nothing, but for a club like Morecambe, to quadruple your crowd and breaking season ticket records are forward steps.
“The town has embraced the football club and I think the football club gives everyone a little bit of hope.
“They have been so behind the club, it’s fantastic they are going to get their day out at a team as big as Spurs.”
That just leaves the players, whom Robinson hopes do themselves justice under the acting management of the club’s assistant manager, Diarmuid O’Carroll.
Six of the squad were involved at Chelsea last year with another half-dozen survivors from last May’s Wembley play-off final against Newport County AFC.
Spurs’ looming Carabao Cup semi-final second leg means it is likely to be a less than full-strength side which confronts the Shrimps.
Nevertheless, Robinson wants an improvement on the defensive problems which have seen Morecambe concede a division-high 49 goals in League One so far.
To that end, Dundee United keeper Trevor Carson and Burnley defender Jacob Bedeau have both come in on loan during the course of the week.
Robinson added: “They have to enjoy the occasion but we have to defend - that’s a given.
“We have to play and try and pass the ball when the opportunity arises.
“I don’t think the crowd will faze them. We’ve got people who have played in front of big crowds and, hopefully, that will stand them in good stead.
“We have younger boys who haven’t done that. We just hope they handle that and have people talking about how good a standard they are.”
As with last year’s run to the third round, the Shrimps’ FA Cup campaign this season has seen them in the roles of both favourite and underdog.
Last year, they saw off non-league pair Maldon and Tiptree and Solihull Moors before facing Chelsea’s starting XI of many stars.
Fast forward a year and the same situation has played out, beating lower-ranked sides in Newport and Buxton before being tipped as huge outsiders to beat a Premier League team.
With that in mind, Robinson has challenged his players to write their name into FA Cup folklore.
“We played Buxton in the last round, which was David v Goliath,” he added.
“Their fans and the atmosphere, it was a proper FA Cup game.
“Maybe Morecambe will never play in the Premier League, so to give fans the chance to watch Premier League players and to pit your wits against Antonio Conte is the magic of the cup.
“I’ve been involved in it as a player. It does stick in people’s memories, people enjoy it and, in the big draws, anything can happen.”
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