Stevenage F.C – meeting the opposition.
Following on from a heavy blow in a 4-0 defeat at home to first placed Forest Green Rovers, Tranmere will now be wanting to get back to winning ways after capturing the services of Everton u23s midfielder Lewis Warrington. In their way stand Paul Tisdale’s Stevenage who travel to Prenton Park on Tuesday night in great form, winning three out of their previous five.
Ahead of the midweek encounter, I spoke to Boro fan Reece Donnelly ‘@ReeceDSport’ who gave his thoughts on Stevenage’s start to the season as well as giving his opinion on a strong hosting defence despite the heavy weekend loss.
What were your expectations going into the season and how do they compare to those that you have now as we enter the second half of the campaign?
After such a strong end to last season, hopes were high. We were named ‘dark horses’ for the season by many but after a very strong start things quickly unravelled for Revell, once he got into a rut I’m just unsure if he had the experience to get out of it. Now it’s about building solid foundations for next season and finally push on after seasons of struggling
Paul Tisdale is Stevenage’s manager after being appointed in late November, was it the right time to part ways with Alex Revell and how would you describe Tisdale’s opening couple of months?
I wasn’t the biggest fan of the appointment but he’s slowly turning me around with his articulate interviews, calmness, approach and of course most importantly results. Our only loss recently was a 2-0 loss to Forest Green. We’re competitive in every game, we’ve got players who are thriving such as Jake Taylor and Terence VanCooten and that has meant we’ve been able to get ourselves away from the bottom.
Who would you say are your stand out men and who, in your opinion, are Tranmere’s key players?
Luke Norris scores goals, on one hell of a run of form at the minute. Jake Taylor has been truly exceptional since moving out wide, relentless energy and a desire to push us up the pitch. Jake Reeves is a real heartbeat to the side at the minute also.
Peter Clarke and Tom Davies have been exceptional this season and are going to be very hard to get past. Then there is a strong case for Callum McDonald to be one of the best in the league. That back unit is so impressive at Tranmere. Although maybe I shouldn’t say that after a 4-0 loss!
How do you see the upcoming fixture panning out, score prediction etc, and do you believe the game will pose different questions than the previous encounter did? If so, why?
It’s a very different game. We’ve been competitive in every game we’ve played unlike before so I think it’s a very different game. We have a bit of momentum too which can change the nature of games. Also after a real shock to the system on Saturday, Tranmere are gonna be desperate for a result.
With Stevenage having a point to prove and Tranmere also desperate to prove a point also I think it turns into a bit of a scrappy ugly game rather than the game of football it could be. Think I’m edging towards a 1-1 draw at the minute.
What starting eleven do you think will be selected by the Stevenage gaffer and how would you describe the playing style that he’s implemented on his side?
Pym – O’Neil, Cuthbert, Prosser, Coker, VanCooten, Reeves, Westbrooke, Taylor, Norris, Reid.
We want to play football. We want it at a fast pace. Those two midfielders of Reeves and Westbrooke want to constantly find the half spaces. We want crosses into the box and use the width of a 4-3-3 to our advantage as much as possible. We are comfortable letting a side have the ball due to the fitness, agility battling and counter abilities in our team.
Thinking of the previous encounters between the two clubs, what games/moments stand out as being memorable for you?
I’ll be totally honest, there aren’t too many memorable games when it comes to Stevenage v Tranmere. The lockdown game was a superb memory, celebrating that late screamer on zoom with mates. Also, I remember the home game on opening day a while back as we were both insanely optimistic for the season after that and of course only one of us had reason to be!
As the January window has now finished, how would you describe the club’s business in the past month?
I can’t fault Tisdale on the recruitment process, position wise, whatsoever I must say. Bought in everything we needed. Some experience too! We bought our average age up significantly but he’s very much ticked the boxes. I’m also never going to complain about a window where Micheal Bostwick came home!