Tranmere v Sunderland preview.
Tuesday 27th July 2021
Pre Season Friendly
Micky Mellon will once again lead his side out in front of Tranmere supporters at Prenton Park as the new League Two season draws closer, this Tuesday night.
All in all it’s been a successful summer for the Whites as players of great quality, a quality that may have lacked at times last season, have been brought in and on the pitch Rovers are unbeaten in all of their friendlies thus far. However, the upcoming challenge will pose a greater threat than they have faced in their last two times out as Lee Johnson’s Sunderland come to Merseyside a few months on from the last meeting in which the Black Cats beat Keith Hill’s men 1-0 at Wembley.
Since Rovers last played in front of a home attendance, only a couple of players have been brought into the club thus a massive influx of new recruits still needs to continue with around ten days left on the clock until the first game of great significance. This is something that Mellon has commented on a number of times in his meetings with the press. However, match fitness and momentum is another vital part of pre-season and it’s evident that some players have grown in confidence under the return of their Scottish manager. Emmanuel Dieseruvwe scored two goals in the last two games, Kieran Morris also netting to add to his tally after scoring the winning goal against Rangers.
It’s quite surreal that Steven Gerrard’s Gers have beaten Real Madrid at Ibrox after drawing against Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal following on from their game on the Wirral. However, this shows that pre-season is a test of mentality as well as ability as the previous campaign which was unprecedented to say the least arguably tired athletes out like no other. Tuesday’s game against Sunderland will be a final chance for the players to show what they’re capable of before fixtures grow in importance.
The visitors are managed by Johnson and have been since last year, the newly recruited gaffer winning the Papa John’s Trophy in March to break the club’s Wembley ‘hoodoo’ as they hadn’t won there since 1973. The Stadium of Light outfit being relegated to League One in 2018, which is well documented on Netflix hit-series ‘Sunderland Till I Die’, leaving a lot left to catch up on as they aim for a positive and successful future.
Just like Tranmere, they have had to oversee a great amount of transfer business in the past month or two as top striker Charlie Wyke left the North East for Wigan Athletic. However, they still have young and old attacking prospects who are capable of causing any level of opposition trouble. A prime two examples being Jack Diamond and former Everton forward Aiden McGeady, leaving no wonder why they are tipped for promotion this year.
However, the hosts have players of flair and strength littered throughout their squad and it’ll be good to see Sam Foley, Mark Duffy and Callum McManaman in a white shirt for the first time amongst others. Full backs Calum MacDonald, Joe Maguire and winger Kieron Morris all need to be assessed to see if they can feature.
You can find more about Sunderland, in a greater depth, in my ‘meeting the opposition’ piece. I had the great pleasure of talking to Malcolm Dugdale from Roker Report about a range of relevant subjects from the game itself to who the club is managed and owned by. The link to that feature? https://ethanhoijord.com/2021/07/26/sunderland-meeting-the-opposition/
With attacking talents like Aiden McGeady in the Sunderland squad it’s no surprise that they are tipped for promotion back to the Championship this campaign.