Artell faces former club Morecambe as the Railwaymen chase automatic promotion

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Crewe Alex will be looking to increase their chances of automatic promotion when they travel to the Lancashire coast to face Morecambe.

The hosts have a very different objective in mind to their visitors as they sit 22nd, nine points clear of last place Stevenage, with the hope of staying in the Football League.

Manager David Artell, who scored the last goal for Morecambe at the old Christie Park ground, stated that his former side, have made some good signings in the last January transfer window.

He said: “They bought some decent players in January; they got a decent home record and it’s never an easy place to go and Derek is no mug! He’s been around long enough; he knows how to set up a team and how to get results and they have done that of late.”

Artell is not the only individual with a connection to both sides. Shrimpers forward A-jay Leitch-Smith had spent 14 years with the Alex and registered over 100 first team appearances.

Leitch-Smith will replace fellow striker Cole Stockton who suffered a shoulder injury in their last fixture against Carlisle United.

This will be Leitch-Smith’s first start since Morecambe’s defeat to Bradford City on boxing day.

“A-Jay will start on Saturday in place of Cole” Manager Derek Adams said. “Harvey Bradbury will come on to the bench but it gives A-Jay a chance to stake his claim.

On the opposite dugout, Adams, who guided Plymouth Argyle to League Two promotion in 2016-17, will be hoping that his side will bounce back from their 5-0 thumping from tomorrow’s visitors in the reverse fixture back in November.

Adams said: “Sam Lavelle getting sent off changed the circumstances of the game.”

Adams is also confident that their home form will be enough to beat promotion-chasing Crewe. “Our home record is very good and we’ll be looking to take the game to Crewe.”

For the Railwaymen, defenders Eddie Nolan and Oliver Lancashire are out for this clash whilst Tom Lowery may be a doubt.

For Morecambe apart from the aforementioned Stockton, Rhys Oates is out.

A win for Crewe tomorrow could potentially move them top of the league depending on fellow automatic promotion contenders Swindon Town.

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