Tranmere Rovers v Brackley Town – The match preview.

Tranmere Rovers v Brackley Town – The match preview

Friday 27th November 2020

@Prenton Park

FA Cup

Friday night football returns to Birkenhead as Keith Hill heads into his second game as Tranmere manager. It’s now time to go from league to cup football, the visitors to Merseyside being the National League North club Brackley Town. The two aims of this cup tie will be to bring six wins in a row in all competitions up to seven and progress into the third round of a special competition. This encounter will be televised to a wide audience as it is on the BBC. The ‘whites’ faithful should be excited about this one.

Fortunately for Rovers, they find themselves in a great position with only one player unavailable for match action. Striker Stefan Payne remains on the sidelines as he recovers from a fairly recent groin operation. This news should excite fans of the Merseyside club as there is a lot of quality in Hill’s squad, enough quality and depth to hopefully add to the victories of late. Payne is a long term absentee but he should hopefully be back before the season finishes.

Brackley Town Football Club are the Friday night visitors and they were founded in 1890 and the club moved to their current St James Park stadium in 1974. This stadium holds a capacity of 3,500 and on the touchlines you can find the technical area that Kevin Wilkin manages his sixth tier side. 

Wilkin was once a footballer, playing for clubs such as Northampton Town and Rushden and Diamonds across an eighteen year career. After he retired as a player, the Cambridgeshire born striker was appointed manager of Nuneaton Town in 2006. He went on to manage Wrexham before landing his current role in 2015. In his role at Nuneaton, he guided the club from the Southern league division one midlands to the conference premier which was the highest level they had played at for nine years. As manager of the ‘dragons’, Wrexham, he guided his team to the FA trophy final but he was defeated at Wembley against North Ferriby United. He has since left Wrexham for Brackley Town, the club remaining in the same division from when he first managed them to this day.  

‘The saints’ star man is striker Lee Ndlovu who has been at the club for four years. He represented Grantham Town and Ilkeston before signing for Wilkin’s team. The forward provides a strong physical presence and is also a great goalscorer. Achieving a goal total of 56 goals in 186 appearances. The 25-year-old scored last time out, in this competition against Bishop’s stortford. He is certainly a player who the defence should target, if his name appears on the teamsheet. 

Pre-match facts:

  1. This is the first meeting between Brackley Town and Tranmere Rovers.
  2. Tranmere have progressed from their last 18 FA Cup ties against non league opponents, excluding qualifiers.
  3. Brackley Town are looking to reach the third round of the cup for the first time in their history.

Manager Keith Hill spoke to the press before his second game in the Prenton Park hot seat. He will be looking to add another win to his first victory, this time in a prestigious cup competition. 

Excitement for the game – ‘The players are in good spirits and they can’t wait for the upcoming games. We are really looking forward to Friday night’s match’ ‘I hope it is a very good and entertaining game. I hope it shows the values that we have as a football club’

Understanding the difficulties that the opponents will bring – ‘The FA Cup is a special competition. It will be a very tough challenge, psychologically and physically, our opponents will be able to express themselves with no fear and we have to be very similar’ ‘It is going to be a difficult game for the players and we have reminded them of that. We also have trust in the players to see the game through’

The need for a consistent performance level, in quality and professionalism – ‘We need to be as professional as we have been, our energy and performance levels are very high at this moment in time and we have to maintain it’ ‘We have continuity so we will stick to the processes that have served us well’

Squad depth bringing competition for places – ‘We have great competition for places. We want competition, we want the squad to be stimulated by the fact someone is ready to come and play in your place. The players have performed well consistently and relationships are being built both at the training ground and on matchdays’

Affection for the prestigious cup competition – ‘I grew up thinking that the FA Cup was the best competition in the world, that it was the most special. I still believe that remains and it is a special competition for me and the players. We are really looking forward to the game’

A chance to show the nation more about the team Tranmere are – ‘It is a great opportunity for the players and the football club to show how special and unique we are in front of the nation. I want us to perform and have a great spirit which they have already shown’

Quotes taken, as ever, from the club’s official website – https://www.tranmererovers.co.uk/news/2020/november/hill-cant-wait-for-fa-cup-under-prenton-park-floodlights/

I think Tranmere will look to rest players that have started in the past two matches, as the squad’s depth is strong enough to beat sides of a supposed weaker quality and the festive schedule is very busy. Brackley will be a tough side to beat. However, I expect Tranmere to win this cup tie.

Line up: Murphy, Nelson, Ellis, Monthe, Ridehalgh, Lloyd, Young, Banks, Woolery, Ferrier, Morris.

Scoreline: Tranmere 4 Brackley 0

(The prize for the competition winners, the famous FA Cup trophy. Pictured here at Wembley stadium, the ground that the semi finals and the final will be played at)

Thank you very much for reading, 

Stay safe, 

Ethan Hoijord

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