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Tranmere Preview

By: Richard Hubbert
Date: 27/11/2003

AFTER an impressive 3-1 away win at Brentford last Saturday, it’s back to Blundell Park this weekend against lowly Tranmere Rovers - yet another "winnable" game - though I said that about the Stockport match.....!!

Home > 2003-2004 Season > Previews > Tranmere (h)

Tranmere have had a somewhat torrid start to their third consecutive season in division two. This saw their manager, Ray Mathias sacked at the start of October after getting only three wins in Rovers first 15 matches - culminating in a 6-0 capitulation to Plymouth. They were in the bottom four at that stage in the season, and though only a few places higher now, they have improved since the appointment of Brian Little. Wins over Port Vale, Oldham, Swindon and Chesterfield have created a bit of stability for the Prenton Park side, who were expected to be challenging for the play offs at the start of the year.

The Opposition

Brian Little. (left) Vastly experienced manager who needs no introduction. Has managed Leicester City and Aston Villa at the very highest level and of course was in charge of Town rivals Hull City. Has taken a couple of years out of management since then, concentrating on working for Sky Sports. Will be looking to resurrect his managerial career, after he failed to take Hull City out of the third division. Has steadied the ship at Tranmere, and will be looking to take them one step further from last seasons 7th place finish.

The Team
In goal for Tranmere is still the Dutch giant, John Achteberg who got squashed by Steve Livingstone in the 2000/01 season game at Blundell Park where Town won 3-1. Generally thought of as one of the most improved players at the club, Achteberg won the player of the year award last season. Former Everton defender Graham Allen will play in the centre of defence, whilst the much-travelled Micky Mellon (left) controls the centre of midfield. Up front, Rovers have one of the most prolific scorers in the lower leagues in the shape of Simon Haworth, who scored 20 goals for Tranmere last season and 55 goals in a four year spell with Wigan.

Recent Form


WQPR (cup)(h)1-0 (4-5 pens)
Currently 15th in Division 2
WPort Vale (h)1-0
WChesterfield (cup)(h)3-2
Currently 19th in Division 2

Top Scorers



Team News



  • Mariners boss Paul Groves will have to decide whether to play "Super Sub" Marcel Cas from the start this weekend, after coming on and changing the game for Town last week. If he does play him, Iain Anderson could drop to the bench, especially as he is still suffering from sore ribs, caused by a collision with the advertising board at Griffin park. However, Groves may decide that Cas will be most effective coming off the bench.

  • Des Hamilton has had tight hamstrings all week, but trained on Thursday, so barring any last minute hiccups, will start in midfield.

  • Keeper Bradley Hughes will be on the bench after Andy Pettinger broke his finger in the Lincolnshire County Cup game with Lincoln this week.
  • Last week's goalscorer for Tranmere in their 1-0 win over Port Vale, Iain Hume will not play for Rovers this week as he is in the World Youth Team Championships with Canada in Dubai. This will possibly see David Beresford in the first team lineup, with Rovers reverting to playing just two strikers as opposed to the three they started with last week.

  • Elsewhere, Rovers will be unchanged with long term injury victims Shane Nicholson, Mike Jones and Tom Rooney all out until after Christmas.
  • Probable Starting XI's


    Aidan Davison
    John McDermott
    Darren Barnard
    Tony Crane
    Mike Edwards
    Stuart Campbell
    Des Hamilton
    Jason Crowe
    Iain Anderson
    Iffy Onoura
    Michael Boulding
    John Achteberg
    Sean Connelly
    Gareth Roberts
    Graham Allen
    Tyrone Loran
    Danny Harrison
    Paul Linwood
    David Beresford
    Micky Mellon
    Eugene Dadi
    Simon Haworth



    Phil Jevons
    Darren Mansaram
    Marcel Cas
    Paul Groves
    Bradley Hughes
    Ryan Taylor
    Gary Jones
    Russell Howarth
    Stephen Jennings
    Alan Navarro


    There are many ex Town heroes who have played for Tranmere as well, none bigger than Italian Ivano Bonetti who played for Town in the 1995/96 season, where his appearances for the Mariners coincided with Town sitting in second place in the division one table in November that year. Then came the "flying chicken incident" and the rest, as they say, is history! The season after that he signed for Tranmere before a brief spell with Crystal Palace before he took over as player/manager of Dundee.

    Danny Coyne started his career with Tranmere until he moved to Town on a bosman transfer in 1999. Georges Santos began his career in England with Tranmere, where he made 45 appearances before a £250,000 switch to WBA.

    Current Town midfielder Iain Anderson had a loan spell with Rovers last season where he scored 2 goals in seven games at the end of last season. No doubt the Tranmere full backs will be fully aware of his ability from both flanks!

    Last Time Out

    The last time the two sides came face to face was over two years ago when the two sides were battling it out at the foot of the division one table, when Town won 3-1. The Mariners found themselves 1-0 down at half time when Tranmere scored through Jason Koumas, until Lennie Lawrence threw on Luke Cornwall and Steve Livingstone with devastating effect. In 8 mad moments, Cornwall grabbed a brace and Livvo scored too, a win that greatly helped Towns survival hopes.

    Town Team: Coyne, McDermott, Gallimore, Groves, Handyside, Coldicott, Pouton (Willems), Campbell, Clare (Cornwall), Jeffrey (Livingstone), Donovan.
    Subs: (not used) Butterfield and Hyldgaard Goals: Cornwall (65,70) and Livingstone (72)

    Tranmere Team: : Achteberg (Murphy), Kenna, Roberts, Allen, Osborn, Yates, Flynn, Koumas, Mellon, Parkinson (Barlow), N’Diaye (Taylor)
    Subs: (not used) Challinor and Allison
    Goals: Challinor and Allison

    Attendance: 5,816   Report

    Tranmere Head-to-Head (19th on The Opposition Ladder).


    Fishy prediction: 1-0 to Town would do nicely thank you! Reader's POMs


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