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Fixture News

Tranmere Preview - A look at our knock out stage Papa John's Trophy fixture

20 December 2021

Fixture News

Tranmere Preview - A look at our knock out stage Papa John's Trophy fixture

20 December 2021

Town are back in cup action this midweek as they face a trip to Prenton Park to take on Tranmere Rovers in the Papa John's Trophy ahead of the festive period of league fixtures.

Victories over Mansfield and Newcastle United under-21's of course ensured Town's progress as runners-up behind Sheffield Wednesday and Simon Weaver's side know that the prospect of a home tie against Carlisle United awaits them should they prevail.

Our opponents

Rovers come into the game on the back of a 1-0 home win against Leyton Orient, their third such scoreline in succession.

In the Papa Johns Trophy they finished top of Northern Group B with a 100% record having overcome Oldham Athletic, Salford City and Leeds United under-21's.

And a season ago they reached the final of the competition, being defeated 1-0 by Sunderland at Wembley after knocking out Academy and League One opposition in earlier rounds.

Earlier this season

There was an entertaining league affair earlier in the season when the two sides played out a 2-2 draw under the lights at The Envirovent Stadium.

Jay Spearing gave the visitors the lead from the spot only for a Jack Muldoon penalty and Luke Armstrong strike put Town ahead before Kieron Morris stuck with just over half an hour remaining.

The man in charge

Scot and former-Tranmere player Micky Mellon is back at the helm after a previous five-year spell in charge between 2016 and 2020. He has also managed Fleetwood, Shrewbsury and Dundee United. He has overseen just over 200 games in charge at the club, winning almost half of these matches.

During his playing career he made almost 500 appearances for Rovers, as well as Bristol City, Blackpool and West Brom.

Ones to Watch

One -time Liverpool midfielder Jay Spearing anchors the midfield for Rovers whilst there is further veteran presence both Callum McManaman and Peter Clarke, the 39 year-old defender who also leads the scoring charts with three goals so far alongside Kieron Morris.

Nathaniel Knight-Percival partners Clarke in a sold backline along with Josh Dacres-Cogley.
Young goalkeeper Ross Doohan, on loan from Celtic, deputised for the injured Joe Murphy earlier in the season and has retained the number one jersey since.

Whilst goals have been a problem for the club this season they have no shortage of options in attack with the likes of Elliott Nevitt and Nicky Maynard available for selection


Although in the shadow of more illustrious near neighbours, Rovers have had plenty to shout about during their existence.

Most recently, the late-1980's saw Rovers start their rise through the divisions under John King following a period in the lower reaches.

The early-1990's saw them climb up to Championship level, propelled by an attacking line-up featuring the likes of John Aldridge, Ian Muir, John Morrissey and Chris Malkin, with Aldridge being appointed as manager in 1995.

Their recent heyday culminated in an appearance in the League Cup final in 2000 that saw them narrowly defeated by Leicester City.

Relegations soon followed though, and Rovers would drop out of the league at the end of the 2014/15 season.

A fantastic second half to the 2017/18 season culminated in ten-man Rovers defeating Boreham Wood in the National League play-off final, before a second successive promotion was secured just a year later with a 1-0 win over Newport County. The club were relegated back to League Two at the end of the truncated 2019/20 season.

Team News

Forward Aaron Martin remains on the sidelines with a knee injury and Town are still without defensive pair Will Smith and Rory McArdle, both of whom are progressing towards full fitness.


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