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Match Previews

Tranmere Preview - The beginning of the Papa John's Trophy knockout stage

29 November 2021

Match Previews

Tranmere Preview - The beginning of the Papa John's Trophy knockout stage

29 November 2021

It's all eyes on cup action this week as Town take a break from life in League Two with a pair of away fixtures in the Papa Johns Trophy and Emirates FA Cup.

First up is a trip to Prenton Park to face Tranmere Rovers in the Round of 32, and it comes following victories over Mansfield and Newcastle United U21s which ensured Town's progress as runners-up behind Sheffield Wednesday.

Simon Weaver will be buoyed going into the game by recent away performances that saw his side take four points on their travels against Carlisle and Swindon.

Our opponents

Rovers come into the game well rested after their weekend home game against Stevenage was postponed due to safety concerns following storm damage to parts of their stadium.

They have just one win in their last six League Two outings but registered victories in both this competition and the first round of the FA Cup in recent weeks.

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 U21s.

Last season they reached the final of the competition, but were 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.

Tranmere have no shortage of options in attack with the likes of Elliott Nevitt and Nicky Maynard available for selection

Team News

Town's defensive trio of Ryan Fallowfield, Will Smith and Rory McArdle are again on the sidelines, while Connor Hall's red card at Hillsborough means Weaver will have some defensive re-shuffling to do.

At the other end of the pitch, Aaron Martin is the only absentee.


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