Salford City (A) Match Preview

Saturday 10th October 2020

@Peninsula Stadium 

English Football League Two

Tranmere search for their second victory of the 2020/21 campaign, looking to show all of the qualities that made them successful last time out at home to Scunthorpe United.

Last week was a breath of fresh air to the Tranmere manager, Mike Jackson, and his squad. It was a performance in which every quality that they had shown they had possessed in recent weeks came off in a victory against tough opposition in Scunthorpe United, resulting in a great game from start to finish at Prenton Park. From defence to attack, every Tranmere player impressed and Jackon’s early tactical change to substitute Stefan Payne for Paul Lewis showed that Jackson had quality in his tactical nous as Rovers would soon dominate midfield and create many attacking chances in the search for a Tranmere goal. The goal came, Tranmere victorious 2-0. This weekend they will face more challenging questions against another tough opponent in Salford City, at the Peninsula stadium. It will be a challenging game, yet the Tranmere faithful should be excited and confident as their side has certainly shown a quality that the best of teams in the league should fear.  

This upcoming game has come too early for a couple of the Tranmere squad, as Mike Jackson looks doubtful to be with the services of some productive forwards. Stefan Payne picked up an injury in training this week and looks doubtful for this weekend. Liam Feeney also looks doubtful for this weekend, another injury.

There also may be an absentee in defence, as full-back Lee O’Connor has been chosen to represent the republic of Ireland at reserves level. The young loanee right-back has impressed so far as he has started the majority of games, thus I’d like to wish him the best of luck as he looks to impress his nation.

However, it is good news for new signing Kaiyne Woolery who may be able to start this weekend as he comes back from a minor injury. This is good news for the player himself as he looks to impress his new manager and Mike Jackson will certainly be pleased if he is available for selection as he has quality in abundance and will certainly benefit Tranmere’s attacking play. This week has also seen a return to training for the fast and skilful forward Corey Blackett-Taylor who will be another massive boost for the attack once he is back to full fitness.

Salford City have risen through the divisions in the past six years, after the club’s take over from the ‘Class of 92’. The ‘Class of 92’ are Manchester United playing legends, who came through United’s academy in 1992 hence the nickname. These players are: Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and David Beckham. They are partnered up with Peter Lim who is a singoporean billionaire businessman. ‘The class of 92’ took over Salford City in 2014, when the club was in the Northern Premier League Division One North (tier 7 of the English football pyramid). Since then, they have been promoted three times and their football league status came last May as they beat AFC Fylde 3-0 at Wembley Stadium in the National League play-off final. Last season, in the club’s first ever season in the football league they finished in a very respectable position of 11th and they also managed to reach the EFL Trophy final where they are set to face Portsmouth. Unfortunately due to the Covid-19 pandemic the final wasn’t played, yet it is scheduled to take place some time next year. However, this season their sights are set higher. Throughout pre-season their squad was transformed, eighteen players left the club and eleven replaced them. One of the faces coming out of the city of Salford was right-winger Devante Rodney who was released and joined Port Vale F.C, the young forward was never a favourite at Salford as he had many loan spells elsewhere during his time yet his quality has certainly shone at his new club. One of the faces that came into Salford is Ian Henderson, a 35-year-old midfielder/forward with an eye for goal and that has certainly come to fruition as he currently lies at the top of the league’s top scorer charts with four goals. Manager Graham Alexander will be hoping that the veteran can continue his fine goalscoring form, the Tranmere defence will certainly have to be wary. Although this season is in the early stages, ‘the ammies’ have done well. They have drawn two and won two league games, after playing four. One of the victories was a very impressive 4-0 thrashing against Grimsby Town and they also impressed at Goodison Park despite the 3-0 scoreline. This Saturday’s encounter will be tough for both sides, it will certainly be entertaining.

I would like to see Mike Jackson choose the eleven that played last week, including the substitution of Paul Lewis for Stefan Payne. With the exception of Sid Nelson for Lee O’Connor as the former may be unable for selection due to being on international duty and Nelson is the only defender capable of performing at right-back. 

Line-up: Davies, Nelson, Clarke, Monthe, Ridehalgh, Banks, Spearing, Lewis, Feeney, Vaughan, Khan.

Score prediction: Salford City 1 Tranmere Rovers 3

Pre-match quotes from manager Mike Jackson:

‘Last weekend saw a good victory for the group as a whole, it was a little bit different from other performances and we had to show different qualities to get the result. We kicked on once we got the second goal, the players showed their intelligence and qualities through a never give up attitude’

‘Salford have recruited well, I know their manager and their assistant as I have played hundreds of games alongside them. Their great guys and I have had some special times with them. However, we will both be aiming for victories for our sides this weekend’

‘We’re Tranmere Rovers Football Club and we have a place in this league as well. Whenever we go anywhere, we’re going to try and win the game. We back ourselves if we get things right with the talent we’ve got, keep that mentality, team spirit and get players back from injury and we’ll be able to achieve something this year. We have to remember who we are, not just who the opposition are’

Pre-match quotes from defender Peter Clarke:

‘Me and Monthe have started the season together, we’ve got a good understanding and I think we complement each other well. It’s nice to be getting clean sheets and we’re really happy with where we’re at. I’ve been fortunate to play with some talented defenders, who I’ve learnt from. Manny is another, he’s got all of the perfect attributes to be a great central defender’

‘You start a new campaign and every club throughout the country is looking to get their first win of the season. We felt it should’ve come a week sooner, but the performances have certainly been building. To go and win the way we did last weekend made us delighted. If we can keep getting positive results, it breeds confidence. I don’t think there are many players who don’t play better when they’re confident’.

‘The league table is still evolving, we’ll soon be able to get a better picture of the squad that we have once we reach the ten game mark etc. We want to be up at the top end of the table but people can get carried away with the way things are’.

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