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🔎 The Opposition: Tranmere Rovers (H)

Joe Glanville takes an in-depth look at Saturday's opponents

27 February 2019

Club News

🔎 The Opposition: Tranmere Rovers (H)

Joe Glanville takes an in-depth look at Saturday's opponents

27 February 2019

Exeter City came agonisingly close to taking all three points against table-toppers Lincoln City on Tuesday evening, but had to settle for a point with John Akinde grabbing an equaliser in the dying embers of the game.

The impressive away draw propped the Grecians up to 5th though as they continue to navigate a tricky league schedule that pits them against fellow promotion hopefuls Tranmere Rovers this Saturday.

Rovers visit St James Park in fine fettle having won their last two games and boosting their play-off prospects and will also be buoyed by their 2-0 victory over Exeter earlier in the season.

Here’s your complete Tranmere Rovers lowdown:

  • Founded: 1884
  • Nickname: Super White Army, Rovers
  • Honours: Third Division North champions: 1937/38. Football League Trophy: 1989/90

Formed originally as Belmont FC in 1884, the club changed its name to Tranmere Rovers just a year later, sporting blue and white as the colours synonymous with the club.

After entering the then expanded Third Division North in 1921, the Rovers won their first title in 1938 with promotion to the Second Division the first in their history.

Tranmere spent most of their years meddling around the Third and Fourth Division with financial difficulties arriving in the 80’s, but a decade later heralded an influx of money and Rovers ascent up the leagues.

After some high-profile signings such as Jim Steel and Eric Nixon, Tranmere arrived in the Second Division. Their peak came in 2000 when they reached the League Cup final, but lost 2-1 to Leicester City.

Ten years in Division Two came to an end in 2001, which can be described as Rovers glory years. 2014 saw the Merseyside club relegated to the National League after spending 94 successive years in the Football League. They returned to League Two after gaining promotion in 2018.

The manager

Micky Mellon

After stints at West Brom, Cork, Bristol City and Blackpool, Mellon made the £300k switch to Tranmere Rovers in 1997 making 57 appearances in Division One, before joining Burnley and returning to Rovers for a second stint for three years between 2001 and 2004.

Mellon’s first managerial stint came at Fleetwood Town whom he guided to two promotions up to the Football League. After a brief managerial hiatus, the former midfielder returned to Shrewsbury Town leading the club to promotion to League One.

A return to Tranmere then beckoned in 2016, with Mellon overseeing promotion back to League Two last year.

The ground

  • Name: Prenton Park
  • Capacity: 15,573
  • Year opened: 1912
  • Address: Prenton Road West, Birkenhead, CH42 9PY

In 1887, Rovers moved to Ravenshaws Field, before its renaming to Prenton Park and then a switch to the new Prenton Park arrived in 1912.

In 1972 the club achieved their record attendance in an FA Cup tie with Stoke City of 24,424. To this day, Rovers possess one of the largest stadiums in the division with a maximum capacity of over 15,000.

One to watch

Jonny Smith

Loan signing Jonny Smith has impressed in his season at the club, making 32 appearances and scoring five goals across all competitions.

Nominally deployed on the left wing, Smith has demonstrated his ability inside and outside the box with a penchant for scoring with either foot also.

The 21 year-old started his career at Wrexham, before joining Bristol City permanently in 2016 and joining Rovers on loan for the 2018/19 season.

Recent form guide

Three successive league defeats over January and February left the Mellon’s men with an outside chance of the play-offs, but a dogmatic defence have ensured an upturn in form for the Rovers who have won three and drawn one of their past four games.

Tranmere have subsequently risen to ninth with just two point separating them from 7th placed Forest Green Rovers.

2017/18 season in review

  • Position: 2nd - National League
  • Top goalscorer: Andy Cook - 24
  • Average attendance: 5,139

A free-scoring Tranmere side ensured their domestic campaign was anything but boring, as duo Andy Cook and James Norwood formed a formidable strike partnership with 43 league goals between the pair of them.

Despite their fearsome goal scoring prowess, the Rovers finished second to Macclesfield Town, but were still unphased when it came to the play-offs.

In the semi-final, Ebbsfleet Town looked set to provide an upset taking the lead on two occasions, but were undone in extra-time by goals from Norwood and Larnell Cole giving Tranmere a 4-2 victory.

A final with Boreham Wood and a trip to Wembley followed, but Norwood was the hero once again getting a late winner in a 2-1 triumph in London. A return to the Football League was in order.

Recent meetings

Tranmere Rovers 2-0 Exeter City (November 3, 2018 – League Two)

A James Norwood brace proved to be the difference, as Tranmere leapfrogged Exeter into fourth, while the Grecians dropped out of the automatic promotion spots.

A miserable day for the visitors was compounded further following the dismissal of Dean Moxey late in the second half, as Exeter dropped to fifth.

Exeter City 1-2 Tranmere Rovers (January 31, 2015 – League Two)

The Grecians suffered a setback in their play-off aspiration after a disappointing home defeat to Tranmere, while the visitors edged further away from an eight-way relegation fight.

Jennison Myrie-Williams broke the deadlock in the 29th minute for Rovers, but parity was restored just eight minutes later following a fine Alex Nicholls free-kick.

It was to be the relegation-threatened sides day though, as Rory Donnelly fired home shortly after the break.

Ticket news

Tickets are on sale at advance prices until 5pm in person and midnight online, on Friday, March 1 so, why not save money and time queuing by buying in advance! Click here to buy online.

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