Tranmere Rovers v Grimsby Town
English Football League Two
Saturday 21st November 2020
Ian Dawes and Andy Parkinson head into their third league game as joint interim managers this weekend, as they are set to host the ‘Mariners’ Grimsby Town.
Saturday’s encounter is set to be a tough and entertaining closely-fought league fixture at Prenton Park, yet Rovers know all about games like these if the Merseyside club’s last few performances are anything to go by of course.
The first two fourth division displays under the Dawes and Parkinson interim reign have seen Tranmere pick up six points with two victories away from home. A 1-0 win at Harrogate as well as a 4-3 win at Port Vale. There has been an obvious improvement in quality in comparison to the standard shown in the first ten games of the season, there has been a great sense of togetherness with a great showing of attacking intent and Corey Blackett-Taylor has certainly added to the sides attacking ranks since coming back from injury. Thus, it will pose serious questions to the board if the same fighting spirit and footballing quality are shown as to why the next permanent manager isn’t already at the club, as the long search for a Mike Jackson replacement goes on.
This weekend is set to pose many interesting questions of both sides, viewers are in for a great watch.
There are little, but yet still few, absentees from the upcoming tie against Ian Holloway’s ‘Mariners’.
Full-back Liam Ridehalgh is absent due to a groin injury, yet there is hope of the 29-year-old returning to training in the early stages of next week.
Forward Stefan Payne is another certain unavailable athlete, recovering from a recent operation that he had on a long term suffering groin injury.
Attacking midfielder Paul Lewis may make a return to action against Grimsby Town, the Liverpudlian 25-year-old sustained an injury in the FA Cup 1st round against Accrington Stanley.
In Ian Dawes and Andy Parkinson’s fifth competitive fixture together as joint interim managers, they are up against former Premier league boss Ian Holloway.
Holloway has managed in the first division with three different clubs: Queen’s Park Rangers, Blackpool and Crystal Palace. This was done by guiding the clubs to promotion from the championship, with an automatic place and a play-off final win against Cardiff City and Watford.
The 57 year old was appointed manager of the league two side in December 2019, fans being very excited about the appointment with what he had been able to add on his CV across the course of his football management career so far.
In his initial season, he guided the Blundell Park ‘Mariners’ to a comfortable position of 15th whilst securing the signatures of four promising footballers: attackers Billy Clarke, James Tilley and Elliot Grandin as well as full-back Bradley Garmston. Three of those four players have since been either released or ‘sold’ on a free transfer.
The summer of 2020 saw a major turnaround within the squad, fifteen names departed the north eastern gates including star midfielder Jake Hessenthaller. Fifteen names also came in, as hopefully beneficial replacements. Starman Owen Windsor signed a loan deal from Premier league West Bromwich Albion. The 19 year old centre forward has three goal involvements in eight appearances so far this season; two goals and an assist. He will certainly be a player that will pose questions of the Tranmere defence, if his name is on the team sheet.
His side are currently placed 19th, after a very uneven/poor start. Defeats including the ones against Salford City 4-0 and 1-0 away to Forest Green Rovers have added to the team’s woes as they have also been knocked out of all cup competitions. However, they will this weekend travel to Merseyside in the hope of adding to the league victory of last time out against Barrow AFC.
Tranmere Rovers 3 Grimsby Town 1
Quotes from interim manager Ian Dawes, heading into his third league encounter. He tells viewers about the injury list and what he expects to face this upcoming weekend:
“We have had a good run of performances and a good run of results, so we can’t complain at the moment and we want to keep that going. The players are playing well, and they are a joy to watch. The performances are important, and the entertainment is great, but we are just concerned about winning games. The more we perform, the more we play well together as a team, so going into the game, it is just important that we win the game. Results and performances lift the group, and the training has a buzz, and the lads are really eager to get the game started, they are looking forward to it. We are all looking forward to it as a group of staff, players, and I’m sure the fans are as well. He (Holloway) has had a great career and he is continuing to do really well at Grimsby. They have got a typical Holloway-style of football, so we know that the game won’t be easy, but we know if we keep performing and have the application that we have done in the past few games, then we are confident that we can win the game. We are only looking at what we are doing and what we are capable of doing, and what we plan to do moving forward, but we are aware of the opposition and where they are in the league and we’re wary of their strengths and threats, but it is more about us. I think that the mentality is different from the players. We are approaching games confident that we are going to go into it and win the game and the most important game is always the next one. Paul is back in training, so he will be available for selection for Saturday, so the injury update at the moment is, there’s only Rides who is carrying his little groin injury, It wasn’t as bad as we thought, which is great news, and we’re hoping to have him back training early next week. But other than that, everyone is back and we’re looking forward to Saturday.”
(Quotes as ever, taken from the club’s official website ‘https://www.tranmererovers.co.uk/news/2020/november/dawes-looking-to-keep-up-winning-run/’)
If you enjoyed reading this match preview, why not read the Q+A in the link below? I ask questions of a life-long Grimsby Town supporter about the club’s position on and off the pitch, get the repliers personal views and experiences as well as finding out his thoughts of this weekend’s fixture.
Thank you very much for reading,