Opposition Focus: Tranmere Rovers

We chatted to Paul Harper from This is Tranmere Podcast (@ThisIsTranmere, to get the lowdown on all things Tranmere Rovers ahead of this weekend’s game (hopefully).

Thanks for taking part in Opposition Focus, we will start with the obvious, what do you think the chances of getting the game played on Saturday?

The pitch has taken a battering over the past few weeks with lots of games and lots of rainfall. It’s been dry last day or so and the forecast is decent for the next few days so I expect the game to go ahead but the surface is unlikely to be very good!

You currently fill the last space in the relegation zone, two points off safety, how do you rate your chances of staying up?

We’ve had lots of injuries so far this season, including to key individuals like goalkeeper Scott Davies, midfielder Ollie Banks and striker Morgan Ferrier. That’s certainly not helped our cause. Hopefully we’re starting to get some players back to fitness and I think we will see better performances and hopefully results off the back of that. We do need to strengthen the squad too in the transfer window which we can hopefully do. So in answer to the question, I’m still confident we can beat the drop. It’s going to be a scrap but I do believe we have enough quality to survive.

Would that be deemed a successful season… retaining your League one status?

Definitely. Staying up is the target. Anything above that would be a bonus. In fairness, I said the same at the start of the season.

Despite your current form and position, The Super White Army seem to be sticking with their manager, Micky Mellon?

After two successive promotions, you have to respect what Micky Mellon has done for the club and the team. He gets what Tranmere is all about and I think what’s he’s achieved in the three years he’s been in charge has been remarkable. There have been a few grumbling voices but personally, I think we have the best man for the job in place in Micky Mellon.

Addressing the elephant in the room, James Norwood, how much have you missed him on and off the pitch?

Nors did incredibly well for Tranmere so of course he’s a big loss to our team. He scored about half of our goals last term, so you’re always going to miss that and with our limited budget, realistically, could never replace that void like for like. He was a great out ball for us, always a willing runner, but we have to move on and Morgan Ferrier has done a pretty good job for us when available this season.

Who has stood out for you so far this season?

Kieron Morris I’d say has been our most consistent player. He’s created and scored a few goals so is a big player for us. Manny Monthe is a key player in defence, pretty solid, but we need to find a regular and settled backline I feel to help us stem the flow of goals conceded, which has been difficult due to injuries so far this season.

What team are you expecting to see on Saturday?

Very much depends on who is fit! Chapman; Caprice, Monthe, Nelson, Ridehalgh; Morris, Perkins, Danns, Woodyard, Jennings; Ferrier.

Town are a team back in form, what are your thoughts on the game?

It’s going to be a very tough test. But I’m hoping we can rise to the challenge. We are in desperate need of the points so we have to put in a performance, especially being the home side. I can see us getting a point, but as I say, it’s going to be a difficult game.

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