Exeter City will meet Tranmere Rovers on the last day of January at St James Park. The match will see the return to SJP of former assistant manager Rob Edwards, who left this summer to take up the top job at Prenton Park. Oliver Roderick takes a look at Rovers, another of the Grecians’ opponents this term.
One win in the first two months set the tone for Tranmere Rovers in 2013/14.
A 5-1 win away at Coventry City could be considered an anomaly for the season, as Rovers only managed to win by at least a two-goal margin on one other occasion all year – oddly, that was the return fixture against the Sky Blues.
With manager Ronnie Moore having been sacked following an FA charge, Rovers failed to win any of their final five, and succumbed to relegation to League 2.
The summer so far
Midfielders Jason Koumas and Jake Kirby signed new contracts at Rovers before the arrival of new manager Rob Edwards in May. He was followed by Mat Gill and Eliot Richards, meaning there will be an ex-Exeter City triangle at Prenton Park next season.
In other news, Ash Taylor left for Aberdeen and James Wallace went to Sheffield United. Marcus Holness joined from Burton Albion, and Kayode Odejayi joined after leaving Rotherham. Michael Ihiekwe, the former Wolves defender, was also signed by Edwards.
There was great news regarding Tranmere winger Joe Thomson, who has been given the all-clear by doctors following a battle with cancer.
Few Exeter City fans will be unfamiliar with Tranmere Rovers manager Rob Edwards: he was assistant to Paul Tisdale at St James Park for the last three seasons, having hung up his boots after five years of playing for City in 2011.
Edwards wasted no time in using his connections to improve Tranmere: Eliot Richards, who was on loan at Exeter during the second half of last season, became his first signing when he was released by Bristol Rovers, while Matt Gill made the same move to become a player-coach at Rovers on a one-year contract.
Ones to watch
Time and time again, footballers have come back to former clubs and scored goals against them, so the Grecians will be tasked with making sure that doesn’t happen if Matt Gill and Eliot Richards are selected to play against them.
Goalkeeper Owain Fôn Williams is highly regarded both in Tranmere and in his native Wales. He has made over 100 appearances for Rovers since his transfer from Stockport County, and Rovers will do well to hold on to him now they are playing in the fourth tier.
Exeter City have a disappointing recent record against Tranmere Rovers, with the Grecians having won only two of the last 13 meetings stretching back to 1987. This fixture first happened in 1967, and the Grecians won the first three clashes between the two. Most recently, Rovers beat City 2-0 at Prenton Park in League 1 in 2011/12.
Exeter City wins: 11
Tranmere Rovers wins: 16
Rob Edwards, Matt Gill and Eliot Richards are the obvious club links, but there are others: Jack Kennedy (not to be confused with the US President), Fred Molyneux and Brian Joy have all played for both.
Exeter City 3-0 Tranmere Rovers, St James Park, Saturday 26th November 2011
Exeter City recorded their biggest win of the League 1 season when they saw off Tranmere Rovers 3-0 at SJP. The victory brought an end to a run of three consecutive draws for the Grecians.
Scot Bennett grabbed his first professional goal to kick-start the City show. In the second half, Danny Coles headed in debutant Chris Hackett’s cross for the second, before Richard Logan completed the scoring with just over ten minutes to go.
Tranmere Rovers are 20/1 to win League 2 this year with Sky Bet. Promotion odds are 11/2, while a second successive Rovers relegation is 14/1.
Tranmere will host York City on the opening day, with a home win at 7/5, the draw at 21/10 and the away win at 9/5.