Stockport County meeting the opposition.
In the January transfer window, Tranmere Rovers brought in five players: Logan Chalmers, Brad Walker, Harvey Saunders, Regan Hendry and Jay Turner-Cooke.
With the points tally to the Play-Off spots so narrow, goals and midfield experience from the above may prove the difference as Rovers will look to go on a great run of form following their 1-0 home victory against Leyton Orient.
It was a fantastic performance last week, for ninety minutes, and it was a sign of Micky Mellon’s comfort with his squad that he was able to bring on all three substitutes when required.
Up next is a challenge against Stockport County at Edgeley Park, The Hatters are relatively struggling having failed to defeat Crewe in midweek but have some talent in their squad as @Mathew_scfc explains.
How long have you been supporting Stockport? What are some of your best and worst experiences following the club?
I’ve been supporting Stockport County since about 2008/2009 but as I was only about five then I didn’t really understand it all properly as I grew up with friends who supported Premier League teams.
The worst experiences are definitely the relegations as we’ve had 3 of them all the way down from League one to the National League North which is regional football but also part time football.
My best experiences are definitely the two promotions, I’d say the one that got us back to the football league was better just because I hear all these stories from my grandad and dad from the days in the Championship and League One against Manchester City and QPR and all I’d experienced was Bradford Park Avenue and FC United.
How important was the promotion back to the EFL last summer?
Promotion back to the EFL was absolutely massive, the best moment of my life. Our crowds have slightly risen from last year, not too much, but the away followings that come to Edgeley Park have definitely increased.
What are your thoughts on the campaign so far with The Hatters currently positioned 12th?
The campaign so far has been inconsistent, obviously we were one of the favourites, I think most fans would take the play-offs although we know the owner wants promotions.
There have been times like last month where we put on our best performance of the season against Walsall and we think we can get third but then we go to Grimsby and we have injury problems and half the squad is ill and it turns our form (a bit like last season when we went there and got a red card after dominating and then we lost and our form dropped) we are still in a good position for play offs but third is out of our reach now.
Manager Dave Challinor was appointed from Hartlepool United in November 2021. What are your thoughts on him, His playing style and his relationship with supporters?
Dave Challinor was the signing of the season, last season, without a doubt. He is a good manager and good person in general. His formation is 5-3-2 in my eyes but some say it’s 3-4-1-2 or something along those lines. He likes to pass out from the back and work our way up the pitch. He likes to press high up the pitch with high energy. He likes us to get crosses into the box where we are the highest in the league for accurate crosses per match. He can definitely take us up the leagues. He’s a serial promotion winner in Non League. It’s his time to do it in the Football League.
How successfully do you believe Chairman Mark Stott is running the club?
Mark Stott is running this club amazingly.
Without knowing too much about other club owners I’d say he’s the best owner in the league. He’s an owner that actually cares for the football club and the community also. He isn’t a flashy owner like the Wrexham duo, he likes to sit back and just let the club be a football club.
Since he has come in he has wiped £7 million in debt, which was all our debt. He’s given us a new training ground at Carrington which we have had players come in and say it is Championship standard and he is looking to build a new one in Stockport in the future.
He’s invested in the squad and in the ground and is looking to expand the ground to 22,000. He made it so the ground only plays football for 250 years. He’s invested in the matchday experience and much more.
There have been two Tranmere players joining Stockport this season. However, what are your thoughts on the overall activity in the January transfer window?
If I was to rate the January window out of 10 I’d probably give it a 7 or 8.
– Crankshaw to Motherwell (rw) don’t use wingers (LOAN)
– Cody Johnson to Banbury (cm) only 17 and has a bright FUTURE (LOAN)
– Barugh to Banbury (forward) featured in some cup Game (LOAN)
– Daniel Okwute to Warrington Rylands (St) signed from kerry in Ireland on summer deadline day, only 18 but hasn’t been seen in a matchday Squad (LOAN)
– Newby to Barrow (versatile winger) he was a decent player but his end product let him down (PERMANENT)
– Tanto Olaofe (St) did not play much but Challinor has wanted him for a while but just could afford him at Hartlepool.
– Jack Stretton (st) just came back from injury so not played much but was at the club 2 seasons ago and scored 3 in 5.
– Kyle Knoyle (rwb) 1st choice rwb got injured, back up got sent back to parent club and 3rd choice was Phil Bardsley who’s 37 and injured.
– Byrne (cb) came in to replace Horsfall who’s done his hamstring in and is injured. Come in and made that position his. Horsfall probably won’t be straight back in. That’s good competition for that spot.
Former Rovers players Calum MacDonald and Neill Byrne have entered the gates of Edgeley Park recently, how well have they played so far?
Callum MacDonald came to us earlier on in the season and started off brightly at LWB but our 1st choice LWB has come back and has stayed 1st choice.
McDonald only really comes in as a sub now but he’s also dropped off in performances in recent weeks.
Byrne as I said previously has come in and been a rock at the back and fits our style of play so well which I guess you could expect after 140 games under Dave Challinor at previous clubs.
Stockport’s top scorer is Paddy Madden who has netted ten in 25 outings. However, who else do we need to keep an eye on and where will the key battles be played out on Saturday?
If he’s on form then Kyle Wootton will be tough to handle for your defenders but can be inconsistent at times and in the previous two games he’s been poor unfortunately for us. I think Will Collar and Croasdale’s partnership in midfield is something teams struggle with because of the high energy press. If we’re on the front foot then our two wing backs who can both deliver good crosses into the box and are pacy.
What is your score prediction for the upcoming match? The last meeting between the two clubs was a frustrating goalless draw on the Wirral in November.
A couple of weeks ago we were one of the in form teams but our form has dropped in recent weeks but before we play you we play Cewe on Tuesday night at their place with 2200 travelling fans so we are hoping we can turn our form into a good run of wins now and try climb into the playoffs for the first time. I’m going to go with 3-1 to Stockport.
Thoughts on Tranmere and their performances so far this season? Do you think they could still achieve a Playoff spot?
Tranmere are probably in a similar position to us where they want promotion but at the very least play-offs. Just some inconsistencies have them outside the top 10. Tranmere are on the same points as Stockport but have played 1 game more (will be the same by time Saturday comes) both teams can 100% still get play offs.
Stockport County’s Edgeley Park.
On a personal note, one of my first Rovers memories is a three-nil victory on the final day of the 2009/10 season here to stay in League One.