Jack Redshaw was Morecambe’s clear top scorer last season with 15 strikes in League Two and his expected absence for seven months from the upcoming campaign has left the club in a troublesome spot in their quest to survive relegation.
In their three seasons since moving to the Globe Arena from Christie Park, Morecambe’s league finishes have been 20th, 15th and 16th, which suggests they have become somewhat of a lower-half club in England’s fourth tier.
Their chances of improvement have been limited by dwindling crowds in recent years and this has a knock-on effect into the type of business they can conduct in terms of assembling a squad.
Gary McDonald, Nick Fenton, Will Haining and Lewis Alessandra all started in excess of 30 league games last season but have all departed, while few of the new replacements inspire confidence that they can help the club replicate their run to the play-offs in 2010.
Former England under-19 striker Jack Sampson has arrived after from Bolton despite failing to score a single goal in loan stints at Southend and Accrington Stanley, while Mark Hughes comes in from Bury and has been named club captain.
Despite these players leaving, it is the lengthy absence of Redshaw that makes Morecambe appeal at 7/2 as candidates for League Two relegation.
The 22-year-old has been found to require a hip operation after picking up an injury in pre-season match with Burnley and manager Jim Bentley doesn’t believe the forward will be back in the first-team reckoning until 2014.
If Sampson is unable to find his shooting boots, this will crank up the pressure further on veteran winger Kevin Ellison, who was the only other player aside from Redshaw to score more than five league goals last term and has reached double figures in both of his seasons with the club.
But whether Ellison can continue to be as effective at the age of 34 remains to be seen.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.