Sunday was an unfortunate kind of day, and one that we’d hope to have seen the back of. It’s not that we’re unrealistic, or simply expect to win every game, but winning that match would’ve primed us to make a charge for the play-offs. It’s only right that there’s a level of frustration about our inability to consolidate good results, and the regularity with which we let these opportunities slip through our fingers.
So instead of that scenario, we enter our midweek game still a tantalising 6 points off 6th place, and about to play an additional game more than our rivals. Plus it’s against the league leaders Tranmere so we’ve got a job to just avoid defeat. Bloody Tranmere.
How are they getting on?
Surprisingly well. Worryingly well. Annoyingly well.
You can use any of those, because at the start of the season nobody was pinning their money of the boys from Birkenhead taking the league by storm.
They’ve won four in a row to see them top of the table again, level on points with Doncaster – a team we absolutely annihilated a month ago. Prior to this run of victories, they’d actually had a slight blip in so much as they’d only won two out of their previous ten games.
What that stat doesn’t tell you however is that they only lost a couple during that period too. It was draw central for a bit. But they’re right back at it now, winning games and keeping clean sheets for fun. Bloody Tranmere.
Who could cause us trouble?
It would appear that everyone’s top scorers have buggered off. While we’re still struggling to come to terms with David McGoldrick’s departure, Tranmere are doing a far better job of waving goodbye to their top scorer – striker Jake Cassidy. He’s returned to Wolves following his successful loan spell, but they ain’t letting it bother them.
Two players I singled out in our previous meeting back in September were Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro and Andy Robinson, and they’ve proven their worth so far, both having impressive seasons.
Robinson is the shock of the season for me, as I had no idea he had this level of quality in him. He was blasting them in earlier on and scored against us in their 2-0 win, but while the goals aren’t quite as frequent any more, he’s still a threat.
Akpa Akpro has a fancy name and his generally pretty fancy. Mind you, he’s been out of action since October and still managed 7 goals before a broken metatarsal put pay to any momentum he was developing. He’s back ahead of schedule and potentially available to get on our nerves. Bloody Tranmere.
Sky Blues team news
Poor James Bailey. I hoped at the time it was an impact injury, but he’s still fighting to be fit for this game after he’d trudged off against Preston last Thursday.
Robins spoke his mind about the appalling manner of the defeat to Carlisle, and will be looking to reignite the league form with some changes to the line up. John Fleck put in another OK-ish performance, but was not very keen on being taken off, so Robins may want to assert some discipline by keeping him out.
Conor Thomas came on once again and if Bailey and Fleck are out of the starting line-up, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Robins would want to leave out young Conor too.
Most players had horrible games the other day, so we can expect some movement, but he’s a pragmatic enough guy is Mark. He might not be keen to be too drastic, too soon, and disrupt the entire dynamic of a team that for a long time was working really well together.
A final hat tip to young Callum Wilson who found himself back on the pitch at the weekend, and put in a useful performance by all accounts. Barring a nightmare in training on Tuesday, he should make the bench again.
The rational person in me is telling me to hedge my bets and predict that we won’t win. While that’s perfectly sensible, the emotive lunatic who thinks we should be winning every game doesn’t quite agree.
I predicted a 2-1 win on the latest Nii Lamptey Show, and I must stick to this, regardless of how much I regret it.
Come on you Sky Blue sausages.