The pre-game ramble: Tranmere Rovers
Fourth bottom, everybody. It’s a month into the new season and we’re already fourth bottom.
What a bunch of twonks.
The hope this season was to get off to a good start and impose ourselves. That’s not happened, and now we’re pretty much scared of every team in the league.
Next stop to give us the willies, Prenton Park and high-flying Tranmere.
How are they getting on?
They are 2nd, unbeaten, with a +9 goal difference having scored 11 goals. Something to note however is that they’ve only played 2 games at home in all competitions this season, compared to our 6, and yet they’re still managing to grab the wins. A sobering thought, isn’t it?
Oh and they won those previous home games by the way, scoring 7 whole goals in the process. They’re slapping them in, and without a John Aldridge, Alan Mahon or Andy Parkinson in sight..
Yes, they’re my three favourite former Tranmere players. For absolutely no reason at all.
Who could cause us trouble?
They’ve scored plenty already, and have been interesting enough to share the load across a few players. Two of those have already got hat-tricks this season; 32 year old midfielder and August player of the month Andy Robinson grabbed the first treble of his career against Carlisle, while young Wolves loanee Jake Cassidy’s also managed the same feat a couple of weeks later against Colchester.
As we know only too well, a player scoring three at any level is tough – for two of them to managed it so close together is spectacular, by our standards at least. Welsh Under 21 international Cassidy in particular looks a very good prospect, and has a great scoring record for someone so young, with 8 goals in 14 professional appearances.
He’s clearly no Shaun Jeffers, though. Nope. No way.
Someone we might need to be more scared of is Louis Akpa-Akpro. He’s just joined from Rochdale, and has three goals himself too, including two on his debut. This was enough for manager Ronnie Moore to cheers about his quality, and state that he’s good enough to play in the Premier League. That’s some claim for a League One player, so he must have something. Keep ‘em peeled everyone.
Sky Blues team news
We’re starting to hear murmurings of John Fleck being close to the first team again. That’s good, if only because we need some options in the midfield area, rather than any real knowledge of what he’ll be able to offer us. If the poll I ran over the last couple of weeks is anything to go by, most fans are expecting a lot from him. 50/50 to be involved, they say.
Injury-wise, Bell’s still a while off, and Conor Thomas is also searching for full match fitness following his brief cameo last weekend.
McGoldrick should keep his place in the team, and he and Elliott actually had an effective opening 25 minutes, which might be enough to keep the partnership together. Cody won’t be pleased if it does, though.
There’s been quite a lot of focus on the sloppy defence this week, so expect some sort of change. Sir Alex won’t be keen on Reece Brown warming our bench, so there could be some pressure to get him back into the starting line up.
Baker’s form has dropped since Birmingham, and so it could be between him and the equally disappointing Barton to be left out of the team to freshen things up. My hunch would be for Barton to keep his spot, mainly because he’s new, and looks like the sort of guy who will be awesome in training (even more than Carl). We’re all hoping he can get a bloody grip and do the best he can to impose himself on the pitch.
Typically, I reckon it’ll be 1-1.
The start of the season is always a bit of a mess. Let’s face it, we were in 4th place in the Championship until November the other year, and we still were bloody awful. It’s more about the dynamic of the individual games, and your ability to cope with the ebb and flow of the match. If you get ahead, do you have the confidence, and even the arrogance to enforce your position? Teams like Tranmere have the momentum and believe that they’re going to keep on winning.
They might take the lead, or more likely, we’ll go and do it. If this can shock them, much like Bristol City used to do on a regular basis to us, the opportunity could be there to place them under some pressure.
Unfortunately, I just can’t see Shaw having the bottle to go for the win. Not having lost two already. He’ll be bloody delighted with 1-1.