Bournemouth vs. Tranmere Rovers match preview

Exactly a year on from their last trip to Bournemouth, Tranmere Rovers travel to Dean Court this Easter Monday as they look to continue their push for the play-offs in League One.

At the time of writing, Tranmere have just beat Port Vale to move back into the play-offs in League One, but fixtures to come their place is under threat on Friday and Saturday. However, a win for Rovers on the
South Coast would throw them right back up there for sure come Monday evening.

Bournemouth team profile:

Formed: 1890

Ground: The Fitness First Stadium

Manager: Kevin Bond

Nickname: The Cherries

Season Finish 2006/07: 19th (Coca-Cola League One)

Previous Meetings:

Tranmere last played Bournemouth in December at
Prenton Park, with Rovers running out 3-1 winners in horrible, wet, windy and slippery conditions. Indeed, there conditions were so bad that it was feared by some the game could have been called off following a half time downpour on the Wirral.

Rovers took the lead just after the twenty minute mark, as after Sherriff and McLaren had missed previous chances for Rovers, the home side took the lead as Greenacre played a perfect through ball to Zola who after losing the ball, regained his composure and beat Stewart from twelve yards.

On twenty-eight minutes Tranmere doubled their lead, with Chris Greenacre netting from the penalty spot, blasting the ball straight down the middle and into the net after Myrie-Williams had been brought down in the area.

After the fifteen minute break, and with rain now streaming down on to the
Prenton Park pitch, Bournemouth threatened more, with Danny Coyne having to pull off a spectacular save from a Bartley 25-yard drive before Tranmere made it three on 63-minutes.

Jennings, who just moments earlier had drilled a shot into the side netting, slid in to tap the ball home from little more than two yards out as Calvin Zola's shot, that had been partially saved by Stewart, rolled towards goal.

With fourteen minutes left, Bournemouth got one back as a poor back pass from Ian Goodison saw Pitman charge down Coyne's clearance and Vokes tap in the loose ball, but the game was already won and Tranmere took home the three points.

Vital Stats:

Tranmere were the first away side to win at Bournemouth's new Dean Court stadium as they beat Bournemouth 2-0 on December 1st 2001

In twenty-one away games against
Bournemouth, Tranmere have picked up just four wins, as well as ten defeat and seven draws

The away side has not won any of the last seven fixtures between these two teams

When these sides have played in March (seven times), there has never been an away win

Tranmere have netted twenty-six times in twenty-one away games against Bournemouth, with the Cherries scoring thirty-four times

On This Day:

2007: Tranmere put in a miserable display as they lose 2-0 away to Bournemouth, with one of the goals coming after Tranmere goalkeeper Gavin Ward was judged to have handballed the ball in his own penalty area

2004: Eugene Dadi scores the only goal at Brian Little's Tranmere beat
Bristol City 1-0 at Prenton Park

1990: The Stags of Mansfield beat John King's Tranmere 1-0 in Division Three

Tranmere have played fourteen previous fixtures on March 24th, picking up seven wins, one draw and six defeats. In those fourteen games, Tranmere have scored on 25 occasions whilst they have conceded 22 goals.

The Form Book:

Bournemouth last 6 home games: WWDLWW
Tranmere last 6 away games: DLDDWW

Despite their lowly league position,
Bournemouth's recent home form has been good, showing that it is their away form that has let them down this season.

The Cherries started their six match sequence with a 4-3 win at home to
Luton Town before picking up a superb 2-0 win over promotion contenders Nottingham Forest, with both goals coming from the on-loan Vokes.

Defeat followed in their next home game however, with Doncaster Rovers travelling to
Dean Court and picking up a 2-0 win before Bournemouth drew 2-2 at home against another relegation threatened team, Cheltenham.

Kevin Bond's team returned to winning ways in their next two home games though, as firstly Hartlepool United were beaten 2-0 at
Dean Court before Yeovil lost by the same result two weeks later.

Other impressive results for Bournemouth at
Dean Court this season include league wins over Leyton Orient (3-1) and Gillingham (1-0) and cup wins over Walsall (2-0) and Barrow (3-2).

Bournemouth this season have played nineteen home games, picking up 22 points from an available 57 thanks to six wins, four draws and nine defeats.

Away league wins for Bournemouth include a 2-0 victory at Bristol Rovers as well as wins at Doncaster Rovers(2-1) and Crewe Alexandra (2-1).

Although Tranmere come into this game without a win in their last four on the road, they certainly haven't played badly and have picked up useful points along the way.

Ronnie Moore's side started their six match sequence with a season-turning 1-0 win at Millwall thanks to a strike from Antony Kay before travelling to
Elland Road and beating Leeds United 2-0.

Two useful draws then followed as Tranmere extended their unbeaten run to eight games, with Rovers first drawing 0-0 on a Tuesday night at
Brighton's Withdean Stadium before they salvaged a point against Bristol Rovers, with Antony Kay scoring the Tranmere goal after Steven Jennings had been sent off in the first half for a wreckless tackle.

In their next away game, Tranmere put in a poor performance as they lost 3-1 at
Boundary Park against slightly-less-poor Oldham Athletic. The turning point of the game was when Ian Goodison was stretchered off having conceded a penalty, with all three goals coming after the Jamaican had left the field.

Tranmere's most recent away game was another long Tuesday night journey with the Mighty Whites travelling to South Wales to take on
Swansea City
. Despite trailing the game at half time, Chris Greenacre netted with an injury time header to earn Tranmere a 1-1 draw.

Other important away results for Tranmere this season include wins over Carlisle United (1-0), Gillingham (2-0) and Southend United (2-1), as well as a 3-0 F.A. Cup second round victory away to

Tranmere have played nineteen home games so far this season, picking up 22 points from an available 57 in the process thanks to five wins, seven draws and seven defeats.

Notable home results for Tranmere include wins over Bournemouth (3-1), Carlisle United (2-0), Huddersfield (3-0) and
Luton Town (2-1).

Double Hit:

Weymouth defender Shaun Teale played for both Tranmere Rovers and Bournemouth in the 1990's, in between a spell with Aston Villa.

Teale began his career with Weymouth, but in 1988 he made a £50,000 transfer to another south coast side in the shape of Bournemouth.

In well over 100 appearances for the Cherries, Teale scored four goals and his talent didn't go un-noticed as he made a £300,000 transfer to Aston Villa in 1991.

In four years, Teale made over 150 appearances for the Villains, and in 1995 he joined Tranmere Rovers, then under John King and with big-spending chairman Peter Johnson at the helm, for £450,000, an amount that is still a club record transfer fee.

Whilst at
Prenton Park
, Teale made 62 appearances, of which 54 appearances were in the league. Shaun spent three years on Merseyside before being transferred to Motherwell after loan spells with Preston North End and Sing Tao.

One To Watch:

It's hard to pick out a Bournemouth player to look out for this fixture as so many of their first team squad are out injured or away on international duty, but one player to look out for is midfielder Danny Hollands.

A former
Chelsea youngster, Hollands never quite made the grade at Stamford Bridge, and failed to make an appearance for the club, although he did spend two months on loan at Torquay United at the end of the 2005/06 season, when he made ten appearances and scored once.

At the end of the same season,
Hollands was released by Chelsea and he joined Bournemouth on a free-transfer.

Since joining the Cherries,
Hollands has become a vital cog in the Bournemouth midfield. In two seasons with the club, he has now made 74 appearances and scored six goals, of which four have come this season.

Able to get from box to box,
Hollands is an industrious player and can hit a very good pass when he ball is played into his feet. He is 5'11 and wears the number fourteen shirt for Bournemouth, just in case Steven Jennings didn't know.

Around League One:

Here, we'll look at the fixtures on Easter Monday, and indeed there is a full set of fixtures in both Coca-Cola League One and Two this afternoon.

Tranmere's trip to Bournemouth will hopefully see Rovers move back into the play-offs, if they have left them after this weekend's fixtures that is, whilst Bournemouth are eleven points from safety as of Friday morning and only a win will do for Kevin Bond's cash strapped team.

For the second time in a week,
Swansea City take on Bristol Rovers in League One, although this time the fixture is at the Liberty Stadium and a win for Swansea would surely end Rovers' play-off chances. Should Swansea have won on Friday, a win against Bristol Rovers would confirm that they have at least a play-off place come the end of the season.

Another big fixture in League One this weekend is
Nottingham Forest's home game against Brighton who have crept up towards the play-offs whilst it is mathematically possible for the Tricky Tree's to drop out of the top six if results go wrong for them over the next few days.

A massive fixture at the other end of the table sees two relegation threatened sides meet at
Vale Park as Port Vale host Gillingham whilst Southend have a tough away trip to Swindon as they battle out for a play-off place.

Other fixtures around the promotion places see Doncaster host Oldham Athletic, Northampton travel to Carlisle in what could be a huge game if Northampton beat Nottingham Forest on Friday, whilst Leyton Orient are away to Cheltenham.

Team News:

Tranmere's injuries are suddenly looking a lot lighter thanks to Ian Goodison's return to the first team against Port Vale from his knee injury and Chris Shuker playing another sixty minutes against the same opposition. Ronnie Moore's only injury concern therefore is winger Steve Davies who is continuing his rehabilitation from a cruciate-knee ligament injury.

Jones' Prediction: Bournemouth 0-2 Tranmere Rovers

This should be a game that again Tranmere should be looking to pick up three points from as they look to extend the gap between themselves and the teams behind them and close in on those above them.

The Cherries lie near the foot of the League One table, with a ten point deduction for entering administration not exactly helping their league position, and with a number of injury worries ahead of this game, as well as having Sam Vokes called up the Welsh U-21 squad, they will be low on confidence and Tranmere should look to exploit this.

Striker Chris Greenacre is now beginning to find some fitness for Rovers and with Shuker getting sharper by the game, the Rovers number ten will have more crosses from the wings to feed off, something that he has missed all season.

With Ian Goodison back in the Tranmere team, Rovers have a great chance of keeping a clean sheet away from home for the first time in over a month whilst Jennings and McLaren are now back together in the Tranmere midfield, allowing McLaren to sit back and pick out those passes that nobody else in the Tranmere team is capable of doing.

Rovers fans do travel to this game though safe in the knowledge of knowing that the team can't play worse this season than they did last season, when Ian Goodison got sent off as Tranmere slipped to a 2-0 defeat and managed not a single shot on target. However, at the end of the day it's not the performance that matters for Tranmere at this stage in the season, it's the picking up of the three points.