George Thomson’s injury time winner on Boxing Day made it two wins from two for Town over the festive period and they will look to continue their 100% record when they entertain Tranmere Rovers tomorrow evening.
The 2-1 win over Accrington saw Town move into the top half of the table and Simon Weaver’s side now sit just three points from the playoff positions at the halfway point of the 2023/24 season.
Rovers finished in midtable last season, their 58 points seeing them end the campaign in 12th place.
After the departure of manager Ian Dawes, Nigel Adkins took charge on a permanent basis in early November and Rovers have taken 17 points from 18 games since, coming into the game in 18th position on 27 points, 10 points clear of the drop.
They did lose each of their first eight away games of the season but have been defeated just once in the past four games away from Prenton Park, a run which included a comprehensive 5-1 defeat of Salford City on Boxing Day.
Town were on the wrong end of a 3-0 defeat in late August with first-half goals from Luke Norris and Sam Taylor opening a lead for Rovers before Kieron Morris added a third ten minutes from time.
The two sides played out a 1-1 draw The Envirovent Stadium last season. Matty Daly put Town ahead in the first half before Jordan Turnbull equalised just before the hour mark. In 2021/22 there was a thrilling 2-2 draw that saw goal from Jack Muldoon and Luke Armstrong cancel out Jay Spearing’s first-half penalty only for Kieron Morris to level late on.
In 2020/21 Otis Khan sealed the win for Rovers with a strike ten minutes from time.
The man in charge
A former Rovers player, Nigel Adkins held the role of technical director before taking charge initially on a temporary basis in September with the move made permanent following a positive run of results.
Adkins has previously managed the likes of Scunthorpe, Southampton, Reading, Sheffield United, Hull City and most recently Charlton.
Ones to watch
Connor Jennings leads the scoring charts with seven goals after arriving at the club from Hartlepool in the summer. Kieron Morris is close behind with six goals. Veteran Kristian Dennis also provides options in attack.
Keeper Luke McGhee and midfielder Regan Hendry both arrived North from Forest Green Rovers in the summer whilst defender Jordan Turnbull knows the division well from his time at Salford City.
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.
Town continue to be without Mark Oxley, Toby Sims and Rod McDonald, though Sam Folarin made his return from injury on Boxing Day after a month out.