In the mix of another busy few days at Tranmere, Mike Jackson hopes for his first away victory as Rovers manager
A few days on from Tranmere’s 2-0 home victory against Southend United they are back in action, again against a Southern football club, as they travel to Crawley Town. It’s set to be an interesting fixture and Tranmere could overtake their hosts in the league table if they manage to win.
Saturday saw few positives, it was more than evident that our team is capable of crossing the ball and players such as Peter Clarke are more than capable of scoring a great header after meeting these crosses. It is also evident that the players are able to ‘dig in’ and work together as a team to get the desired result from their performance. However, I thought that we didn’t play particularly ‘well’. This might not be a bad thing, we won without having to use too much energy and we may be able to use this energy and the understanding of the areas we can improve on in the upcoming fixtures. Being ‘negative’, this might speak volumes that there are problems within the team. Again, this may not be the case. The squad is still waiting to return to full match fitness, players need to become accustomed to playing alongside other players and once this happens maybe we can build as a squad and move up the league’s table as we start to get more desired results and perform in a better playing style. It’s interesting, to say the least. Tranmere appeared quite slow and sluggish and were unable to play in an attractive style on Saturday, these are all things that manager Mike Jackson should look to improve on in the future through his training sessions etc.
Tranmere v Southend – match stats:
Possession – 47/53
Shots – 10/12
Shots on target – 4/2
Corners – 5/8
Fouls – 15/14
Yesterday evening, the FA Cup’s first round draw was made. Tranmere are set to face Accrington Stanley at Prenton Park in the nation’s greatest cup competition. Last season, Tranmere got past Chichester City and Wycombe Wanderers before facing premier league giants Manchester United. The ‘Red devils’ were able to ‘smash’ a struggling Rovers side, yet Prenton Park’s attendance was sold out for this historic encounter and the money from the supporters that flocked to Birkenhead meant that the club were able to make successful signings in the January transfer window. I believe these signings would’ve been able to make Tranmere survive in the third division, if given the chance. However, the money received from this fixture made Tranmere stronger as a club regardless of the division the team would play in. Now, the fans aren’t able to enter the gates of Prenton Park yet they are able to watch the game through the club’s official website. You could argue that this fixture, without fans, is without meaning. However, considering Accrington Stanley’s vote to end the season which saw them survive and Tranmere demoted it may be a good opportunity to see where the two teams are now at as they come head to head in a cup clash. ‘Accrington Stanley, who ar’ .. you know the rest.
As I said above, Tranmere travel south to face Crawley Town for their next league fixture. Rovers supporters will be hoping that the performance that they see from their team is more fast paced and progressive than they saw in the victory against Southend United. However, they will also be hoping for a similar scoreline. I suppose there was a sense that the team was building and getting stronger if we compare Saturday to the previous two fixtures. In the previous two, we only managed one shot on target across the course of two games thus we had improved in that department. As players get closer to peak fitness, there will be a hope that the amount of shots that we can force upon the opponents goal will increase. That is, of course, the only way that we will be able to win games. Tuesday evenings league encounter will make or break a busy few days at the club, Rovers have to keep improving if they are to reach their goals, the end goal being promotion. Peter Clarke and James Vaughan showed what they bring to the team on the weekend and they certainly improve Tranmere when they are fit, thus there are positives to take and to think about. Mike Jackson will be hoping that Tuesday night sees a performance that is able to reward him his first away league victory as Tranmere manager.
This Tuesday evening, the hosts are John Yem’s ‘Red devils’ and this league encounter will be put on display at Broadfield Stadium. The stadium holds just over 6,000 spectators and was built and opened only 23 years ago. The club that plays their home game at this stadium, Crawley Town, have got off to a relatively good start. They sit in 13th place, at the time of writing, and they possess two more points than Jackson’s ‘whites’. They have been victorious in just under half of the league encounters that they have played so far this season: Scunthorpe United and Morecambe at home as well as Oldham away. Crawley managed to beat Morecambe 4-0, thus they are a side that are capable of holding sides of good standard ‘to the sword’. This week, their aim is to avoid going three games without a win. Tranmere will hope that they can add to their hosts ‘woes’. Last season, the ‘Reds’ finished 13th in League Two.
However, we have to go back further to see the last encounter between Crawley and Tranmere. The two sides last came head to head in May 2019, once it was already confirmed that the ‘whites’ would compete in the playoffs. Tranmere manager at the time, Micky Mellon, saw this as an opportunity to field those that were without a great level of game time in order to improve the match fitness of his squad. Adam Buxton, Ben Tollit, Chris Dagnall all starred in a 3-1 defeat at the Broadfield Stadium, Tranmere would soon be promoted via the play offs. Tranmere have faced Crawley on six occasions before.
Won – 3
Draw – 1
Loss – 2
This pre-season, manager John Yem was capable of bolstering his side’s quality with the signings such as Grimsby Town’s talented midfielder Jake Hessnehaler. However, they lost the services of young forward Beryly Lubala who last season netted 12 in 34 league outings.
A player that the Tranmere defence should watch out for this Tuesday is, midfielder who can also play at right back, George Francomb who has 4 goal involvements in 8 fixtures this campaign. Thus, Tuesday nights encounter will be interesting yet it will be tough for both sides making this encounter an entertaining watch.
Scoreline: Crawley 1 Tranmere 2