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Match Previews

Match preview - Tranmere (A)

14 August 2023

Match Previews

Match preview - Tranmere (A)

14 August 2023

After falling to a first defeat of the season on Saturday at home to Forest Green Rovers, Town head off on the road tomorrow evening to face Tranmere Rovers.

They do so hoping to come back with all three points from Prenton Park for the first time since gaining promotion to the EFL.

Our opponents

Rovers finished in the middle of the pack last season, their 58 points seeing them end the campaign in 12th place.

They have started 2023/24 with a pair of league defeats, to Barrow and most recently MK Dons, defeated 1-0 this past weekend. They did though progress in the Carabao Cup, like Town seeing off League One opposition in Barnsley.

Previous meetings

The two sides played out a pair of 1-1 draws last season. In late October at The Envirovent Stadium Matty Daly put Town ahead in the first half before Jordan Turnbull equalised just before the hour mark.

In the reverse fixture Town again took the lead, thanks to Luke Armstrong in the opening minutes, but a Mark Oxley own goal levelled things up just before half-time.

In 2021/22 at Prenton Park Town fall to a 2-0 defeat with second half goals from Lewis Warrington and Kane Hemmings proving the difference. And in 2020/21 despite taking the lead through Josh McPake Rovers ran out 3-2 winners thanks to goals in quick succession from James Vaughan and Kayne Woolery early in the second half.

Town have had cup success though in this fixture, triumphing in both the Papa Johns Trophy and Carabao Cup.

The man in charge

Ian Dawes is in the dugout for Rovers this season on a permanent basis, having been appointed as caretaker boss towards the end of last season following the departure of Mickey Mellon.

Dawes had previously operated in a similar capacity both after the departures of Mike Jackson and Keith Hill, having been on the coaching staff since 2020, even earning a manager of the month award in November 2020 after going unbeaten whilst in temporary charge.

Ones to watch

Rovers added plenty of firepower over the summer, bringing in Kristian Dennis from Carlisle, Luke Norris from Stevenage and Connor Jennings from Hartlepool in a bid to improve their scoring record from last season. Harvey Saunders also provides options having joined from Bristol Rovers in January.

Keeper Luke McGhee and midfielder Regan Hendry both arrived North from Forest Green Rovers. Experienced defender Jordan Turnbull knows the division well from his time at Salford City whilst youngster Jake Leake arrived on loan from Hull City.

History

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

Long-term absentee Stephen Dooley is unavailable for Simon Weaver but they will hope to have Rod McDonald available with the defender having missed the past two games due to injury.


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