Swansea City vs. Tranmere Rovers match preview

Rovers hoping for Kay return as they fly south to take on Swans
It's another tough and long away trip for Tranmere Rovers this week, as they once again make a ludicrously long journey on a Tuesday night, travelling to the depths of Wales to take on Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.

The top team in League One,
Swansea have been setting League One alight over the past few months, and whatever result Rovers get on Tuesday night, they will know they have come home having played the team who are the best in Coca-Cola League One by quite some distance.

team profile:

Formed: 1912

Ground: The Liberty Stadium

Manager: Roberto Martinez

Nickname: The Swans/The Jacks

Season Finish 2006/07: 7th (Coca-Cola League One)

Previous meetings:

A 1-0 defeat against Swansea City in Coca-Cola League one back in November for Tranmere made it just one win in six home games for Tranmere as Ronnie Moore's side slipped to ninth in the League One table having topped it just seven weeks before hand.

However, Swansea left it very late to grab their winner, and indeed they needed a helping hand for that. It was a tight game and niether side had had too many chances, with big Dennis Lawrence heading Swansea's best chance over the bar and Robbie Stockdale testing goalkeeper de Vries with a 25-yard effort for Tranmere.

Greenacre and Goodison hit golden chances over the bar for Tranmere in the second half before
Swansea took the lead in the 81st minute. Andy Robinson surged down the Swansea left and broke into the Tranmere box, where he hit a cross-shot across the six yard box that was deflected into his own goal by Rovers midfielder Steven Jennings.

The Jacks moved into fourth in the table with the win and since they have gone from strength to strength, leading the league table by eight points.

Vital Stats:

Tranmere are yet to score at the Liberty Stadium, although Jason McAteer did miss a penalty in the first ever match at the Liberty Stadium for Tranmere

Two games at the Liberty Stadium between these two sides have provided just one goal

Rovers are without a win in their last five games against

In twelve away trips to Swansea, Tranmere have picked up just one win, with the Jacks picking up five wins to go with six draws

These two sides tend to provide very few goals, with the 26 meetings between the two teams providing 27 goals per team

On This Day

2006: Tranmere get their first home win on a Saturday in over a year as they hammer Chesterfield 4-1, with Sam Aiston getting two of the goals for Brian Little's side

2001: Rovers lose their F.A. Cup Quarter Final clash at Prenton Park against Liverpool 4-2, although the game could have finished so differently after a handball by Marcus Babble in the Liverpool penalty went un-noticed by the referee and Liverpool were able to carry the ball down the other end and
immediately win a penalty, from which they netted their decisive fourth goal

1995: The "New"
Prenton Park is officially opened as Tranmere beat Grimsby town in Division One

From seventeen previous fixtures on March 11th, Tranmere have picked up eight wins and two draws as well as losing seven times. In these seventeen games they have scored 29 goals and conceded 24.

The Form Book:

Swansea City last 6 home games: LWLWWW

Tranmere last 6 away games: LDDWWL

A defeat at the Liberty Stadium on Friday night halted what has been an absolutely superb few months for Roberto Martinez and
Swansea City, with the south Welsh side going on an 18-game unbeaten run in the league.

The Swans' six match sequence started with a win over relegation threatened Crewe Alexandra, as strikes from
Butler and the on-loan Anderson were enough to secure the Jacks a 2-1 win.

Oldham Athletic then became the latest team to leave the Liberty Stadium as they were defeated 2-1 by Swansea, with Brandy netting an 85th minute winner for the home side, before Tranmere's promotion rivals Walsall were also defeated by a solitary goal in a 1-0 loss.

Swansea then lost 1-0 to League Two side MK Don's in the Football League Trophy, before returning to winning ways in League One three days later as they beat struggling Luton 1-0.

In the final match of their six match sequence,
Swansea lost at home to Millwall 2-1. The defeat, which came on Friday, was Swansea's first league defeat for 18 games and also halted a run of ten successive home league wins.

Other impressive results on home soil for the Jacks this season include wins over Leeds United (3-2),
Cheltenham Town (4-1), Carlisle United (2-1) and Southend United (3-0).

This season,
Swansea have played eighteen home games and picked up a total of 39 points from an available 54 thanks to twelve wins, three draws and three defeats.

Notable away results for
Swansea include wins over Tranmere Rovers (1-0), Bournemouth (4-0), Doncaster Rovers (4-1) and a resounding 5-0 drubbing of Leyton Orient.

Tranmere's recent push for the play-offs has been dented recently as they come into this tough fixture on the back of two consecutive defeats, with one of these coming away from home. However, they have had just one defeat in their last six matches on the road.

In the first match of their six match sequence, Tranmere lost 1-0 in an F.A. Cup third round replay at Edgar Street against League Two side Hereford United before turning their form around as Antony Kay scored an 87th minute winning header as Tranmere beat Millwall 1-0 at the New Den.

Rovers then impressively won 2-0 at
Elland Road thanks to goals from Jennison Myrie-Williams and Ian Moore before Tranmere made the long trip south the Brighton on a Tuesday night and picked up a 0-0 draw.

The next away match for Tranmere was at the Memorial Ground and Rovers drew 1-1 with Bristol Rovers despite having Steven Jennings sent off in the first half before defensive errors cost Tranmere dearly at
Boundary Park as Oldham Athletic beat Ronnie Moore's side 3-1.

Other notable results on the road for Tranmere include wins against Carlisle United (1-0), Southend United (2-1) and

Tranmere have picked up 21 of an available 54 points away from home, thanks to five wins, six draws and seven defeats in their eighteen away games.

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

Double Hit:

Two players to have represented both Tranmere and
Swansea in the recent past include wingers Jason Price (now with Doncaster Rovers) and Andy Robinson (still with Swansea).

If you go further back in time, you will find that current Tranmere Rovers youth team and reserve team manager Shaun Garnett played for both teams.

Born in Wallasey, the defender started his career with Rovers in the last 1980's and he was part of the successful Tranmere team managed by John King that made it all the way to Division One [now Coca-Cola Championship] and challenged for promotion to the Premier League.

Garnett stayed with Rovers for eight years and made over 140 appearances for the club, netting on six occasions, before making a £200,000 transfer to
Swansea City in March 1996.

However, Garnett was to be less of a success with the Welsh club. After seventeen appearances, he moved on to
Oldham for £150,000 six months later and he was to stay with the Latics for seven years as he made nearly 200 appearances before being released in May 2003.

Oldham, Garnett, now 38, had spells with Halifax (for whom he signed from Oldham after a successful loan spell) and Morecambe before retiring in 2004 and joining the back room staff at Tranmere.

One To Watch:
Jason Scotland

Trinidad and Tobago
international striker Jason Scotland is one of the leading scorers in English football this season as he has been banging the goals in for a Welsh side.

The departure of forward Lee Trundle to Bristol City in the summer left a big hole to fill upfront for Swansea City, but that is most certainly a hole that new front man Jason Scotland has filled.

Scotland started his career in his home country with firstly San Juan Jabloteh and Defence Force before moving to Scotland
and Dundee United in 2003.

The striker scored five times in his first nine games for United and in total netted ten goals in 60 games for the club before earning a move to St. Johnstone for an undisclosed fee in August 2005.

At St. Johnstone, Scotland's profile began to rise as in two seasons with the club, the tall, fast striker netted a highly impressive 42 goals in 81 games, including two hatricks for the club.

In May 2007, after two seasons with
St. Johnstone, Scotland joined Swansea
for an undisclosed fee. Since, he has never failed to impress, scoring and creating goals galore. He has now played 42 games for the club and scored 22 goals.

Scotland also brings international experience with him, having played 24 games for his national side Trinidad and Tobago
and netted five goals in the process.

The 29-year old wears the number nine shirt for Swansea, and as well as bringing goals to the side, his height and strength allow him to hold up the ball and win headers as he causes problems for defences through-out the division.

Around League One:

There is a full fixture list in Coca-Cola League One this Tuesday and Wednesday as many teams look to either kick-start their season or maintain good runs as they push for the play-offs over the remaining two months.

Tranmere's game against
Swansea see's Rovers with a chance to perhaps grab a point and keep in touch with the play-offs, whilst a win would stick them right back up amongst the top six, should Leeds and Southend slip up. Swansea can extend their lead at the top of the table back to eleven points with a win if Doncaster, in second and on 65-points, fail to win at home to Gillingham, a result which is highly unlikely.

A promotion game at Roots Hall sees Southend United take on Nottingham Forest, a game which Tranmere would most likely like to see Forest win as they bid to overtake Southend in the table, whilst Forest are now five points clear of Tranmere in fourth, certainly not out of Rovers' reach.

Leeds United, the team directly above Tranmere in the league table, are at home to Cheltenham Town, again a game you would expect Gary McAllister's side to win, whilst Walsall are at home to Brighton as they look to maintain, if not extend, the three point gap between themselves and Tranmere.

Carlisle United in third place take on second to bottom club
Luton Town and you would expect three points for the home side, Carlisle, in this game, whilst if Oldham beat Bournemouth at Boundary Park and Tranmere lose to Swansea, the Latics will over take Rovers.

Team News:

Steven Jennings sits out the final game of a three match ban for Tranmere after his sending off against Bristol Rovers a few weeks ago whilst this game has come just too soon for Chris Shuker who could make his comeback from a knee injury against Hartlepool at the weekend. Other long term injury absentee Steve Davies will also miss the game with his cruciate knee ligament problem whilst Ian Goodison, who injured his knee against Oldham on Saturday, will also miss out. Antony Kay could feature should he recover from the illness that kept him out of the 3-1 defeat at Boundary Park at the weekend.

Jones' Prediction:
Swansea City 2-0 Tranmere Rovers

This is quite possibly the toughest fixture Tranmere will have all season. With
Jennings still out and now Ian Goodison missing also, Ronnie Moore is without arguably his two best players, the two players who have been at the heart of Tranmere's success this season.

Swansea have a very strong side ad if Antony Kay misses out, Tranmere fans certainly won't trust either Shane Sherriff or Ben Chorley to mark Scotland whilst Andy Robinson will, as ever, be a threat on the wing. There is then
loanee Paul Anderson on the other side from Robinson, so Taylor and Stockdale will have their work cut out for Rovers.

Tranmere must create more chances than they have done in their last two games if they want to win this fixture whilst if Ronnie Moore is hoping to make this a minimum-damage affair, Adnan Ahmed must replace John Mullin midfield as he is a much better player defensively and surely a more like for like replacement for Steven Jennings.

By no means have
Swansea been hammering teams at home this season though, perhaps suggesting they play a more conservative game on home soil. Rovers though struggle themselves when they go a goal behind and should Swansea, as is expected, take the lead in this game, Tranmere will probably not get back into it.