Newcastle United and cup competitions these days go together like oil and water, really. Don't believe me? Check out the betting odds: Morecambe (19th, League Two) are only 6/1 odds for a home shock victory over their Premier League opponents. Still don't believe me? The vultures are hovering in the form of the TV cameras, all anticipating reward in the form of another cup shock at the expense of Newcastle. While none of their victories came at the expense of Newcastle United, it bears remembering that it was this same competition that saw Bradford City (League Two at the time) into the final at the expense of FA Cup champs Wigan Athletic, Arsenal and Aston Villa before they petered out against Swansea City.
Who are Morecambe?
Morecambe FC was founded in 1920, though it was 2007 before they would see their first taste of League football.
Best League Two Finish: 2009-10, Fourth Place (lost in playoff semi-finals)
Best League Cup Performance: 2007-08 (Their first appearance in the competition), Third Round - wins against Preston NE (Championship) and Wolves (Championship)
How They Got Here: 1-0 victory over Wolves (League One) thanks to this beauty from Ryan Williams:
Last Season: 16th, League Two
Manager: Jim Bentley - played majority of of his career in non-league football; made 328 appearances for Morecambe and was promoted with them in 2007. Has been manager since 2011 season and has a record of 35 W, 30 D, 43 L with the club
Anticipated Formation: Under Bentley, the Shrimps have almost exclusively played a 4-3-3 at home. With nothing to lose against Newcastle this is unlikely to change.
Who To Look Out For: Obviously, Newcastle will want to take care fouling near their own penalty area as Ryan Williams looks to have the quality to make a difference if given that kind of chance. Williams also provided the goal in Morecambe's 1-1 draw with Torquay in League Two from some 25 yards out (this one from the run of play). 34-year-old winger Kevin Ellison is the other Morecambe player to have scored this season, accounting for both goals in the Shrimps 2-0 victory over Exeter City last weekend. 20-year-old Jack Sampson is a physical true #9 presence who, though he has not yet scored a goal at the football league level, could trouble the Newcastle central defense. Also, tall doesn't necessarily mean good, but Mark Hughes is a massive presence in the center of the Morecambe defense at 6' 4". Williams certainly has the quality to find Hughes with free kicks or corners.
Anticipated Lineup: (4-3-3) Roche | Parrish, Hughes, McCready, Diagne | Fleming, Williams, Kenyon | Amond, Sampson, Ellison
They're obviously a really, really good team with Premier League experience for a number of years now so it's going to be a very tough game, but there's no pressure on us, all the pressure's on them, they're expected to beat us.
Morecambe are a side that we think will cause us a few problems as they've got some good players. They're very difficult games, it's a no lose situation for them, a fantastic position to be in. They can have a real go at us and we've got to be wary of that.
Anticipated Newcstle United Lineup: (4-4-2) Rob Elliot | Remie Streete, Curtis Good, Fabricio Coloccini, Paul Dummett | Gabriel Obertan, Gaël Bigirimana, Dan Gosling, Sammy Ameobi | Haris Vuckic, Yoan Gouffran