Welcome, welcome, and why not have a seat? Now close your eyes – we’re about to head back in time to this stage of the season last year. On 9 March, Tranmere Rovers defeated Oldham Athletic at Prenton Park to revive their hopes of going up. A month before, they were sitting pretty at the top of the table; this 1-0 win lifted them back up to 4th after an awful month. In fact, this win took their points tally since 9 February to seven.
If you think a return of seven points from six games is a bit rubbish, the final nine fixtures added just FOUR more points to Tranmere’s haul for the season as they plummeted down to 11th. Right, now fast forward back to this campaign. In the three fixtures they’ve played since 8 February, Tranmere have bagged five points. And this time, they ain’t comfortable in the top six… they’re shuffling nervously in the bottom six.
History is threatening to repeat itself. If it does, Tranmere will soon be in League Two.
But don’t get too excited just yet. This weekend’s opponents are unbeaten in four games against us, with our only win against them coming back in December 2011. And for their recent struggles, they’ve scored in each of their last seven league outings; Jason Koumas (remember him?) finding the back of the net in two of his last three appearances. So lets not think we’ve found someone to take the relegation hit on our behalf just yet.
Last time the Lamex threw open the doors to Tranmere Rovers, the currently suspended Ronnie Moore said of a superb Greg Tansey leveller: “I don’t think he knew where it was going and it’s ended up in the back of our net”. Well Ronnie, you can it was a bit of a punt no? Anyway, Boro’ aren’t too worried about how they end up going in at the moment – as long as they do go in, we’ll be happy come the first round of post-match drinkies.
What are our chances then? It’s well-documented that our record against the top half and the bottom half and just in general hasn’t been the best, so we won’t go into that. So we’re going to take a peek at Tranmere’s form on the road against fellow strugglers. And it’s OK to be fair, with three wins and a draw in their seven games. They do, however, average the one goal a game in such circumstances. A clean sheet will obviously be crucial.
Boro’ are rightly ignoring the wider situation in favour of just doing the job of collecting a point or three, but it won’t stop us taking a look. If we win, that’s 35 points on the board… the same number as Bristol City and Crewe Alexandra right now. Shrewsbury host Bristol City this weekend and could also go to 35 points – by Sunday, four teams could be the one point behind Tranmere. Is this relegation dogfight getting interesting? You bet!
Here’s What You Need To Know:
[expand title=”WE’VE MET BEFORE…”]
|07 Sep 2013||A||Sky Bet League One||0-0|
|24 Mar 2013||A||npower League One||1-3|
|24 Nov 2012||H||npower League One||1-1|
|06 Apr 2012||A||npower League One||0-3|
|17 Dec 2011||H||npower League One||2-1|
[expand title=”REFEREE WATCH”]
Not that we want to question the leniency of this weekend’s referee Simon Hooper, but he is the first official we’ve come across this season to up a century of yellow cards. That only equates to just under four bookings a game, but we’re already preparing ourselves for a fair few players to be asked “is this your card” and “did you leave it up here?”. That said, we’ve kept pretty much on the straight and narrow with Mr Hooper in games past.
Our record when he’s been in town is another mixed bag. We’ve won and lost at Brentford under his guidance; we’ve been hammered by Exeter City before returning the favour to Histon; and been held to a stalemate by Southend United. We’ve crunched the numbers – if previous matches reffed by Mr Hooper are anything to go by, we’re going to lose 1.2-1.6 this weekend. Ronnie Moore could probably get some bizarre odds on that scoreline.
• This season for Simon Hooper:
Games: 26 — Yellow: 102 (3.92pg), Red: 4
• Our record under Simon Hooper:
P5 W2 D1 L2 F6 A8 — Yellow: 6, Red: 0
[expand title=”FIFA 14 VERDICT”]
Day; Obeng, Dembele, Ashton, Charles; Akins, Mousinho, Smith, Doughty, Freeman; Zoko
We’re expecting changes to the line-up, but we just couldn’t think where the gaffer will be making them – hence our team selection above. In a reflection of reality, this was a really scrappy encounter. We hit the post twice in the first half, but the game as a spectacle was a poor one. If it wasn’t for the charity of the Tranmere defence shortly after the break, we might never have found a goal to win it. Thankfully, Luke Freeman obliged…
FT: Stevenage 1-0 Tranmere Rovers
[expand title=”BOOKIE BASHING”]
Sign up with Titan Bet and get a risk-free £10 wager – it’s that simple! Now then, shall we have a look at the form? Going on the recent goalscoring exploits of both sides, we’d want to be looking at the Under 2.5 market and that’s 4/5 with Titan Bet. Both Teams To Score is 8/11, but the “No” is also a tempting evens. Our favourite correct score is 1-0 Boro’ at 7/1, while we wouldn’t rule out the draw at 47/20 (1-1, 11/2).
But if you’d rather, check out what the alternatives are offering…