Bournemouth vs. Tranmere Rovers match preview

Rovers players hoping for Moore of the same
Tranmere will be hoping to overtake play-off and local rivals Blackpool on Saturday as they make the long trip south to face Bournemouth in League One.

If results go their way, Rovers can go three points above Blackpool with the Seasiders facing a trip to Bradford and other play-off rivals Doncaster, Swansea, Oldham and Yeovil playing Bristol City (h), Northampton (h), Brentford (a - Sunday) and Chesterfield (h).

Bournemouth team profile:

Formed: 1890

Ground: The Fitness First Stadium/Dean Court

Manager: Kevin Bond

Nickname: The Cherries

Season Finish 2005/06: 17th (Coca-Cola League One)

Previous Meetings:

When the two sides met at Prenton Park on October 28th 2006 this season, Tranmere limped home as 1-0 winner as they put behind a recent run of six matches without victory in the league behind them.

Kevin Ellison scored the only goal of the game after 41 minutes, with the left-winger netting from close range after Gareth Taylor's knock down.

The game saw John Thompson make his debut at right-back and he could yet return against the same opposition at Dean Court this weekend whilst the game was also notable for pushing Tranmere up to fifth and the beginning a run of five consecutive wins in the league - here's hoping the same happens on the winning front over the next five games!

Vital Stats:

have scored just one goal in their last five games against Tranmere

Tranmere are unbeaten in ten against the south coast side

The Cherries have won nine out of 20 meetings between the two sides at The Fitness First Stadium

20 meetings on the south coast between the two sides have yielded a total of 58 goals

Tranmere have won one out of five away games on March 24th

The Form Book:

last 6 home games: WWLWLW
Tranmere last 6 away games: WLWLLL

Despite having a terrible start to he season, Bournemouth have begun to turn their form around lately, especially at Dean Court and with a lot of help from the brilliance of former England and Spurs midfielder Darren Anderton.

In their most recent home game, The Cherries beat in form Millwall 1-0 following up another excellent 2-0 win against another
one of Tranmere's play-off rivals, Doncaster Rovers.

Before this, Yeovil had defeated Kevin Bond's side 2-0 at Dean Court but only 10 days earlier Bournemouth had hammered Leyton Orient 5-0 on their home patch with a hatrick for Darren Anderton and a goal each for Hayter and Wilson.

The other two games in the six match sequence saw Bournemouth pick up three points, a win and a draw, as they were beaten 2-1 by Huddersfield after a 1-0 victory of Brentford.

Other notable results at the Fitness First Stadium this season for Bournemouth include an impressive 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest, a 3-2 defeat of Oldham and a 1-0 win against Crewe.

The Cherries have played 19 home matches this season, winning nine, drawing twice and losing eight. They have picked up a total of 29 points from an available 57.

A win at Port Vale for Rovers last weekend, their fifth on the road this season, could be the lift they need as they look to push up into the play-offs over the next six weeks or so.

After taking a 2-0 lead thanks to two goals from Chris Greenacre, one from the penalty spot, Port Vale pulled Rovers back to 2-2 with 17 minutes left. However, Kevin Ellison popped up to the grab the winner for Tranmere with seven minutes remaining.

However, it has been inconsistency on the road that has left Tranmere struggling to secure a play-off place this season, as in their previous away game before this they travelled to London and were defeated 3-1 by Leyton Orient.

A week before this Tranmere had defeated Yeovil Town 2-0 on the road thanks to two fantastic goals from Chris Shuker as The Super White Army secured their first win on the road since November 18th.

Previous to the Yeovil game, Rovers had lost three on the spin in their six match sequence as they were defeated by Bristol City (3-2), Gillingham (2-0) and Oldham Athletic (1-0).

Other notable results on the road for Tranmere this season include wins over Chesterfield (2-0), Northampton (3-1) and Brighton (1-0) along with draws at Nottingham Forest (1-1) and Scunthorpe (1-1).

From 19 away games this season, Tranmere have picked up five wins, six draws and eight defeats, meaning they have a total of 21 points from 57 available.

Double Hit:

One player who represented both Tranmere Rovers and Bournemouth was Northern Ireland international Colin Clarke, who scored 13 goals in 38 appearances for his country and is the only ever Tranmere player to feature for Northern Ireland.

Clarke started his career with Ipswich Town but failed to make an appearance before moving to Peterborough in 1981, where he made 82 appearances and scored 18 goals in three years with the club.

Clarke spent time on loan at Gillingham in 1984, scoring once in eight appearances with The Gills before moving to Tranmere Rovers in 1984.

The striker was a hit with the Rovers as he scored an impressive 22 goals in 45 games whilst with the Wirral club, averaging nearly one goal every two games.

His form whilst at Prenton Park was enough to convince Bournemouth to move for the striker in 1985 and whilst with the Cherries he netted 26 times in just 46 games, and even better record than when with Tranmere and enough to convince another south coast side in Southampton to make a move for the Northern-Irishman in 1986.

Clarke stayed with the Saints for three years, making 82 appearances and scoring 36 goals at The Dell and also returned to Bournemouth for a brief loan spell in 1988 when he scored twice in four games.

The striker moved on to Queens Park Rangers in 1989 but stayed at Loftus Road for just a year as he scored 11 times in 46 games and moved to Portsmouth in 1990.

He stayed at Portsmouth for three seasons, scoring 18 times in 85 games before moving to the USA where he currently manages the Virginia Beech Mariners.

One To Watch:

There are two important players down at Dean Court, in Darren Anderton and James Hayter, and it's the former England international who will feature in this match preview.

Anderton, or "Sick Note" as he's known for picking up many injuries over his career, has been a key player for Bournemouth so far in their League One campaign.

Anderton started his career with Portsmouth where he played 77 times and scored 13 goals before moving to Tottenham Hotspurs in 1992 for £1,750,000.

Anderton stayed at Spurs for an impressive 12 years and it was here that he earned his 30 England caps as he also scored seven goals for his country.

In those 12 years at White Harte Lane, Anderton made 364 appearances in the Tottenham white, scoring 51 goals before moving to Birmingham on a free transfer in August 2004 and then on to Wolves in August 2005, making a total of 50 appearances and scoring five goals in his spells with the two Midlands clubs.

In September 2006, Anderton made the move to the South Coast again, but this time with Bournemouth and he remains there today.

For the Cherries so far, Anderton has played 24 games and scored six goals of which three came in one game (his first career hatrick).

Despite having little pace, Anderton is a set-piece master for League One and can also unlock one team with one swing of his boot. He must be marked through-out, like he was at Prenton Park, or he will run rings around the Rovers.

Team News:

John Thompson could be fit and make an appearance from the bench for Rovers whilst Jason McAteer is expected to have recovered from the illness which ruled him out of Rovers win at Port Vale last Saturday. This means that other than injury to John Achterberg, Ronnie Moore has no selection worries.

Jones' Prediction:
Bournemouth 0-2 Tranmere