There are two tasty Christmas dishes being served up at Highbury this week, starting on Boxing Day with the Lancashire Derby against Morecambe and followed by Saturday's War of the Roses against York
By David Mitchell
There are two tasty Christmas dishes being served up at Highbury this week, starting on Boxing Day with the Lancashire Derby against Morecambe and followed by Saturday's War of the Roses against York City.
The club will be hopeful of a large crowd, possibly a season's best, for the visit of close-neighbours Morecambe. The current high is 3624 from the first day of the season against Torquay United. Morecambe are the first team to play the return match with Town this season and with the Oxford game postponed the match marks the half-way point of the season.
A positive from the postponement on Saturday is that Graham Alexander has no extra injury worries. Town's manager is keen to put on a good show for the fans disappointed on Saturday and applauded the club's decision to offer free travel for the re-arranged game to those who headed south on the coach:
'It's a fantastic gesture. The fans have to count every penny going into Christmas and this is an appreciation for what they do for us.'
'Christmas is a time when we need to be ultra-professional and we have a big responsibility to our supporters to do things right. This is a great day for a derby and I'm sure there'll be a brilliant atmosphere at Highbury. It doesn't get much better than a big Bank Holiday game. I have always liked playing in derby matches, particularly at Preston and Burnley, because everything has a much higher profile for everybody concerned.'
'Morecambe have some decent players and Jim Bentley has been developing them over the last couple of years. He knows them well. It's a big game for both clubs and although there is a lot of extra interest around a derby, in the end we have to look at it as another game where the aim is to concentrate and take three points.'
Curtis Obeng's loan period has finished and not been renewed. The midfielder played six times, including one off the bench.
Morecambe will be wanting to avenge a 4-0 defeat at home in September, a result which remains Town's biggest win and the Shrimps biggest defeat of the campaign. Town impressed in front of over 1000 Cod Army, winning courtesy of a Jon Parkin hat-trick and Barry Nicholson's first goal for Town.
Bentley's side are 16th in the npower League Two. The Shrimps have not won away in the league since 13th October and have had a run of one draw and four defeats since victory at Rochdale. Like Town, they were victims of the weather on Saturday. Bentley wasn't too upset, as he told the Club's website:
'You want to play all the time and we're on a decent run at home but we've had quite a few niggles in the camp over the last week. Kevin Ellison has been unwell and Nick Fenton and Jordan Mustoe are nursing knocks from the Oxford game. They would all have been fit to play but it gives them an extra couple of days to recover.'
Ellison is top scorer with ten goals and Morecambe are keen to extend the contract of fellow striker and former Town player Richard Brodie who has hit the net six times in 24 games since going to the Globe on loan.
Jim's Sports Bar open 11am for home and away supporters.
Sky Sports News due at first team training on Christmas Day.