Morecambe welcomes Walsall to the Morecambe FC Mazuma Stadium this Saturday for the pair’s first game of the 2023/24 League Two season. After relegation from League One last season, Morecambe will be hoping to establish dominance in League Two with a win against Walsall in the opener. The visitors, on the other hand, found themselves in the bottom half of League Two last season and will look to improve on that with a win at Morecambe to start the season.
The Shrimps had a tough 2022/23 season, with relegation ending their two year stint in League One. Morecambe managed 10 wins, 14 draws and 22 losses in their 46 games, leaving them on 44 points, heartbreakingly just one point off of safety. Interestingly, Morecambe had less losses than a lot of the teams above them who retained their status in League One, but their high number of draws didn’t allow them enough points to survive.
Morecambe have been more than busy this summer in the transfer market. A few notable moves include: Chris Stokes from Kilmarnock in the Scottish Premiership, Charlie Brown from Cheltenham and previously Chelsea’s youth system, Cammy Smith from Patrick Thistle and Yann Songo’o from Bradford all on free transfers.
The Shrimps played five games this preseason, winning two, drawing once and losing two games. Morecambe’s preseason started with a loss, a 2 - 0 defeat to Warrington Town, before grabbing a 3 - 1 win over Southport and a 10 - 1 thrashing over Burscough. The draw came against Blackpool where one goal each left Morecambe with a 1 - 1 draw and the final game before the start of the season ended in a 2 - 0 win for Wigan.
Walsall finished 16th in League Two for the 2022/23 season with just 12 wins to their name. The Saddlers had the smallest number of losses in the bottom half of the table with only 15 losses, but the staggering 19 draws meant that Walsall only finished 16th on 55 points, nine points away from 22nd-place Crawley Town in the final relegation spot.
This summer, The Saddlers have done most of their transfer business with U21 teams. Examples include: Douglas James-Taylor from Stoke’s U21 team, Ryan Stirk from Birmingham’s U21 team and goalkeeper Jackson Smith from Wolves’ U21 team.
For their preseason, The Saddlers played four games ahead of their opener against Morecambe. Walsall have finished their preseason unbeaten with two wins and two draws. The first of these wins came against Leamington where The Saddlers thrashed Leamington 4 - 1, the second coming against Solihull Moors, a positive 3 - 0 win for Walsall. Clashes against Rochdale and Aston Villa both ended in a 1 - 1 draw.
Morecambe and Walsall have actually only played each other five times, all of these clashes coming after 2015. The hosts have won this fixture on three occasions, including the most recent meeting in 2021 where Morecambe won 2 - 0. Walsall have one just once, back in 2019, and the other meeting ended in a 1 - 1 draw. This suggests that a Morecambe win may be the likely outcome this weekend.