Match Preview: Southport v Tranmere Rovers
By Louise Formston
August 25 2016
It's a Bank Holiday weekend which means a double dose of Rovers football on both Saturday and Monday and to kick us off ahead of Saturday's trip to Southport, Louise once again brings us her Match Preview ahead of the game....
The Bank Holiday Weekend sees Rovers play two games in just over 48 hours. The first of these is a trip to the seaside as Tranmere prepare to take on Southport, followed by a large SWA contingent.
Rovers are heading into the game yet to lose a game, having won all five of the games this season, conceding just twice along the way. Southport meanwhile find themselves already in the relegation zone. The Port have won just one of their league games this season - 2-1 win over Woking.
Last season’s meetings between the clubs were the first since 1978. The away game finished in a 2-2 draw after Rovers fought back from being 2-0 down by half time. When Southport visited Prenton Park in February, a James Norwood penalty was enough to ensure all three points stayed on the Wirral.
James Norwood (Left) scored the winner against Southport at Prenton Park last season
Injuries and Suspensions:
Steve Jennings managed to go a game without getting booked so will be postponing his suspension for at least a week. For Southport, Ashley Grimes will be missing after he picked up a straight red card last weekend playing against Lincoln. Neither team has any new injury concerns ahead of the game.
The Opposition Dugout:
Paul Carden was in charge the last time Southport met Rovers. Carden now finds himself on the other side, as he’s assistant manager here at Tranmere. Former Bury-player Andy Bishop is currently in charge of The Yellows but finds himself without an assistant manager as Craig Madden departed earlier this week. 33-year old Bishop is still registered as a player for Southport, having had a reasonably successful career with York, Bury and Wrexham before joining Southport in 2015.
Bishop has made one appearance as a player for Southport this season, coming on a substitute in Southport’s win over Woking. With two goals this season Louis Almond is Southport’s top scorer, with both his goals coming against Woking. Former Tranmere defender Josh Thompson is still a feature in Southport’s defence, although maybe that’s something they need to consider given the number of goals against this season.
As well as Josh is Andrai Jones who had a brief spell on loan at Prenton Park in 2013, although he only made one appearance for the Whites. James Gray, formerly of Wrexham, joined Southport in the summer and despite featuring in every game this season, Gray has yet to find the net. Away from football, Gray has been banned for a drink driving offence that took place last season on his way to training at Wrexham. He features on Thursday nights’ 999: What’s Your Emergency (C4, 9pm).
Birkenhead born midfielder Gary Jones is still a regular in Southport’s starting XI. Jones scored the first goal in Rovers’ visit to Haig Avenue last season. Goalkeeper Tyrell Bedford will be handed the task of stopping Rovers from scoring on Saturday. The 22 year old started his footballing career at Liverpool as a trainee before moving to Swindon in 2013. He joined Southport in the summer.
Around the League:
Dag & Red vs Wrexham: Rovers closest rivals in the league, Dag & Red take on Wrexham in an early kick off on Saturday; which will be live on BT Sport.
Guiseley vs Bromley: Guiseley will make the visit to Prenton Park on Monday but first take on Bromley.
Other games worth just checking their final scores include:
Chester vs Sutton United; Eastleigh vs Solihull Motors; Torquay vs Dover
My Starting XI:
Vaughan McNulty Ihiekwe Hughes
Harris S. Jennings
C. Jennings Norwood
I’m a big fan of stability so am in favour of keeping the same team that has started the last four of our games. However, I want to see Brabin using his subs in this game; with Guiseley on Monday, protecting key players is a must. I feel our bench is strong enough so any combination of Mekki, Stephenson or Kirby could take to the field at any point during Saturday’s game.
2-0 Rovers. Whilst I’d love to see us send out a message to the rest of the league and put away 4, 5 or 6 I can’t see it happening. With Maidstone finding a way past us and this game being somewhat of a local trip to get both sets of fans going, I’d be surprised if Southport didn’t attempt some attacking football.
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Every ball is a white ball............TRFC
They have parted company with their assistant manager Craig Madden as well.
craig madden always seemed to play well and score against us in his playing days when he was at bury.