Morecambe manager's confidence in Shrimps' captain

Stephen Robinson has backed Morecambe skipper Anthony O’Connor to prove an effective leader at the Mazuma Stadium.
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The summer signing was handed the captain’s armband following Sam Lavelle’s departure to Charlton Athletic on the final day of the August transfer window.

However, while Robinson’s players have impressed in attack, they have had defensive issues with 25 goals conceded in their 14 league matches.

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Thirteen had come in five games before Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Plymouth Argyle.

Anthony O'Connor (centre) was praised by Morecambe boss Stephen RobinsonAnthony O'Connor (centre) was praised by Morecambe boss Stephen Robinson
Anthony O'Connor (centre) was praised by Morecambe boss Stephen Robinson
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Those goals, along with the manner in which some were conceded, had seen Morecambe’s defenders placed under the microscope.

Having reverted from a back three to a back four last weekend, Robinson believes a consistent backline will bring the best out of his defenders.

O’Connor is the only defender to have played in all 14 league games, alongside a combination of Ryan Cooney (12), Liam Gibson (10), Greg Leigh (10), Scott Wootton (eight), Ryan Delaney (seven) and Ryan McLaughlin (four).

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Behind them, keepers Jokull Andresson and Kyle Letheren have played eight and six times respectively.

“I thought Anthony O’Connor was brilliant,” the manager said at the weekend.

“He was excellent, superb, as was Ryan Delaney, but I thought the back four were all very good.

“I haven’t had a settled back four. With injuries, people haven’t been able to play 90 minutes but Anthony will benefit from that.

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“His performance (against Plymouth) was a real leader’s performance, a captain’s performance.”

While Robinson has choices in defence, the same isn’t true in midfield right now with half of his six options out at the weekend.

Alfie McCalmont (thigh), Aaron Wildig (ankle) and Shane McLoughlin (knee) were all absent, leaving Toumani Diagouraga, Adam Phillips and Callum Jones as the only fit central midfielders.

“I didn’t have too many options,” Robinson admitted.

“We’re hopeful two or three will be back in a week to 10 days.

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“Callum was excellent. He’s had to wait his turn but he’s a young player learning the game.”

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