Swindon vs. Tranmere match preview

This Saturday Tranmere Rovers travel to Swindon Town in a game which could be and most probably will be crucial in deciding who stays up and who goes down.

It will be ground number 31 for me as Tranmere make their 26th trip to The County Ground, not one of their favourite places to visit!

Iffy Onoura, the only black manager in the Football League and a former Rovers loanee under Brian Little will be hoping he can guide his Swindon side to their fifth home win in six whilst Rovers boss Brian Little may even be hoping to save his job!

Previous Meetings:

Tranmere met Swindon at Prenton Park back on Monday 29th August and they won the game 1-0, Chris Greenacre netting the winner. The goal was in fact Rovers last win before October 29th, two months to the day later.

Between the two months, Rovers went nine games without a league win, including defeats at home to Scunthorpe United (2-0) and away to Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield Town (both 1-0) before they finally beat Doncastor 2-0 at Belle Vue.

Last season both meetings between the two sides ended 2-1, each side winning on home soil. At Prenton Park in early November, Paul Hall netted both of Rovers goals whilst back at the County Ground on April 23rd, Rovers lost their penultamate away game of the season before the Play-offs 2-1 after leading 1-0 through a Ryan Taylor goal in the first half.

Rovers last win at the County Ground came in the 2000/01 season when they won 1-0 in the League Cup under John Aldridge.

Vital Stats:

In 26 visits to the County Ground Tranmere have only managed 25 goals

Rovers have only ever won three times at the County Ground, including their first ever visit there on October 18th 1958 (1-2)

In 53 matches Rovers have never scored more than three goals in a game against Swindon

In 1993 when Rovers were leading 2-0, a win which would have sealed a place in the Division 1 (now Coca-Cola Championship) play-offs final, there was a floodlight "failure" and the game had to be replayed. Swindon won the replay 3-1 and progressed to the final after Rovers only managed a 3-2 win at Prenton Park.

Swindon have won 16 out of the 26 meetings between the two sides at The County Ground - 61.54%

The Form Book:

Swindon Last 6 Home Games: DWWWWL
Tranmere Last 6 Away Games: DWDDDL

Last Saturday at Oldham,Tranmere recorded their first away defeat since they were defeat by Barnsley at Oakwell (2-1) on December 6th. Oldham defeated Tranmere 1-0 to make it three games without a goal and four without a win for the Super Whites.

Before their defeat Rovers were unbeaten away from home since December, with good points taken away from Walsall, Bradford and Hartlepool (0-0) and Blackpool and Gillingham (1-1) whilst they won 2-0 away to Port Vale on New Years Eve.

Despite their last home game ending in a 3-2 defeat to relegation contenders Rotherham United, Swindon's overall home form has been good.

Before this slip up they had gone seven matches unbeaten, with great wins over Colchester United, Gillingham and Walsall (1-0), Bournemouth (4-2), Doncastor Rovers (2-1) whilst tough games with Blackpool and Swansea had both ended 0-0.

Rovers can therefore expect nothing short of a tough match at the County Ground. Swindon did indeed lose their last game 7-1 to Nottingham Forest but Rovers will I'm sure expect a backlash after that thumping.

Rovers themselves will want to bounce back and repay the travelling fans after defeats to Oldham and Barnsley (1-0) whilst drawing with Gillingham (1-1) and Hartlepool (0-0) in their last four games.

If Rovers expect to stay up then they absolutely MUST win this game. It is nothing short of the proverbial six pointer and I only hope Rovers don't lose or I feel it may be time for Brian Little to clear his desk.

Whatever you do if you travel, get behind the boys and lets hoep we can snatch a rare victory at the County Ground. COME ON ROVERS!

Team News:

Rovers for once have no real injury worries! John Achterberg has returned to training but is not expected to be in the squad who travel to Swindon whilst Mike Jackson returns from his one match suspension for five yellow cards.

Jones' Prediction: Swindon 1-2 Tranmere (don't have a clue why I'm so confident!)

Top 15:

  1. Who are you, what’s your age and how long have you been supporting your club.

14, been supporting Swindon for ages but have had a season ticket for past 3 seasons.

  1. What’s your best moment as a football fan of your club?

Reaching the play offs in the 2003/4 season

  1. And the worst?

Losing in the semi finals of the play offs in the same season as above. Rainy night at Brighton and we deserved the win, we were 2-1 up then Adam Virgo equalised. We lost on penalties and then Tommy Mooney left L

  1. Which player has been your all time favourite for your club?

Sam Parkin or Tommy Mooney

  1. And who is your current favourite?

Jamie Cureton

  1. What’s your favourite away ground in League one?

Griffin Park, Brentford

  1. What has your form of late been like?

Very good, lost last 2 games though including a 7-1 defeat V Forest. Key players have been injured in those 2 games but might be back on Saturday

  1. Who’s the “one to watch”?

Lee Peacock, Jamie Cureton or Aaron Brown, take your pick J

  1. Do you have any youngsters to look out for?

Ricky Shakes is quite young, great player and will be going to the world Cup. He’s a dark skinned right midfielder and has loads of pace

  1. What’s your biggest threat, as in corners, set pieces etc.

We are deadly from crosses and on the counter attack

  1. At the start of the season, what was your predicted finish for the season?

Mid table

  1. Where do you see yourselves finishing now?

Just avoid relegation

  1. Do you think either of Tranmere or your team will get relegated or promoted?

Think they will both stay up, won’t get promoted

  1. Are you a little surprised by Tranmere’s performance so far this season?

A little bit, you did sell your best players though.

  1. Finally, your prediction for today’s game?

2-1 Swindon

I'd like to thank Chris for taking the time to answer our 15 questions and wish him and Swindon all the best for the rest of the season (beginning at 5:00 pm on Saturday)