United manager Russ Wilcox has warned his table-topping side to be wary of struggling Morecambe ahead of their meeting with the Shrimps at the Globe Arena on Good Friday.The Iron returned to the top of League Two on Saturday courtesy of a 2-2 draw with Bury at Glanford Park, and also remain seven points clear of fourth-placed Fleetwood Town with just four games of the regular campaign now remaining as they look to secure promotion back to League One.
In contrast, a poor run of form has seen their upcoming opponents slip perilously close to the dreaded relegation-zone – with the Shrimps currently just four points clear of danger.
On paper, an away win seems the most likely scenario, but Wilcox told The Iron Player: “They’ve not won for seven games, so it will be a little bit different.
“It will be a tough game because they’re not safe at the moment. They play 3-5-2 as well, and he [manager Jim Bentley] has changed them around a lot since they played down here.
“I’ll read the report later as to whether that’s a five at the back formation-wise. It’s another tough game, but all games are tough.
“We’ve got two games against teams fighting for Football League survival, and two who are fighting for the play-offs. They’re tough games, but it will be a tough game for Morecambe as well.”
The unpredictable nature of the division makes anticipating required points totals for either safety or promotion challenging, with a number of teams having produced unexpected bursts of good form throughout the season.
That makes the remaining games critical for both sides, and Wilcox added: “It’s difficult to say what you’re going to need.
“What you need at the top end I’m not sure, and what you need at the bottom end I’m not sure either. If Northampton win at the weekend then all of a sudden it tightens things up.
“It’s unbelievable really. A month ago we were looking at Hartlepool as maybe having an outside chance of the play-offs, and now you’re looking at the possibility of them going down as they’re only three points away from the drop-zone.
“It shows how quickly the table can turn, and shows how tight the table is. If you go on a good run you can move up the table, whereas Hartlepool have lost five on the spin and all of a sudden are looking over their shoulders.”
Were United to win on Friday night, there remains a chance they could be promoted before their meeting with Oxford United at Glanford Park on Easter Monday depending on results elsewhere.
Either way, victory against Morecambe would leave the Iron on the brink of securing promotion, but Wilcox said: “We’ve not looked at the weekend overall to be honest.
“It’s all about Morecambe away. It sounds boring, but that’s how we have to do it. We work that way, and will do our best at Morecambe to get the three points.
“If we can achieve that then we’ll look at other results to see where we are, and reassess.”
See much more from Russ Wilcox, Niall Canavan and Dave Syers on The Iron Player.