Swindon vs. Tranmere Rovers match preview

Greenacre expected to return for Rovers as Tranmere look for three more points on the road
For the third fixture running, Tranmere take on a team who weren't in Coca-Cola League One last season as Rovers take on Swindon Town at the County Ground.

Swindon made a swift return to League One after they were relegated during the 2005/06 season. Last year however, under the guidance of Paul Sturrock after his early departure from Sheffield Wednesday, The Robins climbed the table and eventually finished third in League Two as they got promoted back up at the first attempt.

Swindon team profile:

Formed: 1894

Ground: The County Ground

Manager: Paul Sturrock

Nickname: The Robins

Season Finish 2006/07: 3rd (Coca-Cola League Two)

Previous Meetings:

Swindon were one of the few teams who didn't manage to beat Tranmere during the 2005/06 season, as Brian Little's side managed to do the double against the Gloucestershire side.

The first time the two sides met in that season was on August 29th 2005 and the match turned out to be Iain Hume's final game for Rovers before he transferred to Leicester City on deadline day.

The game finished in a 1-0 win for Rovers, with Chris Greenacre netting the only goal of the match. It came on 59-minutes, as Greenacre, netting his fourth of the season, acrobatically flicked Danny Harrison's wayward shot into the goal.

The meeting between the two sides at the County Ground was originally postponed due to a frozen pitch but was quickly re-arranged for the next Tuesday.

The game didn't dissapoint the 100 or so loyal Tranmere fans though, as Sam Aiston ran the show in a game which Rovers won 2-1.

Rovers took the lead on 21 minutes through Chris Greenacre after a Calvin Zola pass completely opened up the Swindon back four, whilst just 12 minutes later, Tranmere doubled their advantage thanks to Sam Aiston, who ran unchallenged towards the area and after a one-two with Calvin Zola, netted Rovers' second.

Swindon pulled one back on on 69-minutes, Jamie Cureton the scorer as his low right-footed shot found the back of the net from inside the area, but ultimately it wasn't enough as Rovers earned three vital points.

Vital Stats:

In the 1992/93 play-off Semi-Finals, Tranmere were beating Swindon 2-0 at The County Ground until the flood-lights mysteriously failed and the game had to be postponed. Tranmere lost the re-arranged match 3-1.

Rovers have only won four out of 27 visits to the County Ground

Three of the last four games between the two sides have finished 2-1

Tranmere have netted 27 goals in 27 games away to Swindon

Rovers have scored in five of their last six games against the Robins

On This Day:

2001: Rovers win 1-0 at home to Huddesfield Town in Division Two

1998: Tranmere pick up a good 3-0 win at home to Barnsley in Division One

1975: Tranmere earn a 1-0 win against local rivals Southport in Division Four

The Form Book:

Swindon Last 6 Home Games: LWWLWD
Tranmere Last 6 Away Games: WDWDWL

On their return to Coca-Cola League One, Swindon have shown good resiliance at the County Ground and are proving hard to beat in the league.

In the first match of that six match sequence, Swindon drew 1-1 with Crewe Alexandra before hammering Brentford 4-1 in the Football League Trophy at the County Ground.

Following this, The Robins lost 1-0 at home to Yeovil in a local derby in Coca-Cola League One before bouncing back to form against Bournemouth, a game which they won 4-1 thanks to goals from Cox and a Paynter hatrick.

Next, Swindon hammered relegation threatened Gillingham 5-0 at home, Paynter and Cox again on the scoring with two each after McGovern had opened the scoring in the fourth minute.

Most recently at home, Swindon lost another local derby, this time to Cheltenham in the Football League Trophy at the County Ground, as Paul Sturrock's side went down 3-1.

In their other two home games this season, Swindon lost 2-0 to Charlton in the Carling Cup First Round and beat Luton 2-1 in the league.

From five home league games, Swindon have picked up 10 of the available 15 points, thanks to three wins, a draw and a defeat. They have managed an impressive 17 goals in eight home games this season, despite failing to score on two occassions.

Notable away results for the Robins include a 2-1 win away to Millwall and a 1-1 draw against Danny Wilsons Hartlepool at Victoria Park.

Tranmere meanwhile have been in fine form away from home this season, and in their five league games they are yet to lose so far.

Rovers first away game was against Stockport County in the Carling Cup, a 1-0 defeat thanks to a late goal from McNeil, but since they have gone unbeaten in the league.

First, Tranmere won 2-0 at Gillingham thanks to goals from Greenacre and Davies either side of half time, before a 96th minute free-kick from Steve Davies earned Rovers a 1-1 draw at Yeovil.

Seven days later, Tranmere were picking up the points again as a first half goal from Craig Curran got Rovers a 1-0 win at Carlisle before two weeks later, Tranmere earned another draw, this time at Cheltenham as Greenacre was again on the score sheet in a 1-1 draw.

Their most impressive away result of the season so far though undoubtably came in their last away game at Roots Hall against Southend. Despite missing regulars Danny Coyne, Chris Greenacre and Steve Davies, Tranmere played a 4-5-1 formation and goals either side of half-time from Chorley and Taylor earned Tranmere a magnificent 2-1 win and sent them top of Coca-Cola League One.

For five away league games this season, Tranmere have picked up 11 points thanks to three wins and two draws.

Noteable results at Prenton Park for Tranmere include wins over Luton Town (2-1) and Brighton and Hove Albion (2-0).

Double Hit:

One of a number of players who represented both Swindon and Tranmere in his long and successful professional career was striker Paul Rideout.

Rideout started his career with Swindon in the early 1980's and stayed with the club until July 1983 when he moved to Aston Villa for a fee of £200,000 after playing 105 games for the club and scoring 41 goals.

Rideout stayed with Villa for a further two years, making another 63 appearances and scoring 22 goals before moving to Bari, Italy, for £400,000 in 1985.

99 appearance and 23 goals later, Rideout was back in England with Southampton, a team he joined for a further £430,000.

Again, Rideout was amongst the goals at Southampton, as he scored 21 goals in 93 games for the Saints in three years, a time which also saw him move back to Swindon on loan in 1991 when he scored one more goal in nine appearances for the Robins.

Further spells at Rangers and Notts County took over the next year of Rideout's career as he transfered between clubs for a total of £750,000 and scored four more goals in 28 appearances for the two clubs before he moved to Everton in 1992 for another £500,000.

Everton was the club with whom Rideout stayed for the longest, as he remained with the Toffee's for five years between 1992 and 1995. He enjoyed his time at Goodison Park too, as he scored 37 goals in 140 games for the Blues, including a header in the 1995 F.A. Cup final which got Everton the 1-0 win.

After three years of obscurity away from the English game, Rideout joined Tranmere in 2000 having left Everton in 1997 as he was coaxed back to into English football by then Tranmere manager John Aldridge.

Originally on a one-year contract, Rideout started well at Tranmere and in his first season he scored a vital hatrick in an F.A. Cup Fifth Round Replay against Southampton as Rovers came from 3-0 down at half-time to win 4-3, with Rideout getting the first three before Stewart Barlow got the Rovers winner.

Despite Tranmere's relegation in the 2000/01 season, Rideout signed a further one year deal with Tranmere as he finished his career with the club in 2002 having played 59 games and scored 12 goals.

In his career, Rideout scored 161 goals in nearly 600 appearances in league and cup competitions. He is now coaching football in America.

One To Watch: Billy Paynter

Billy Paynter joined Swindon from Southend United this summer, and has been in and around the goals ever since his move to the County Ground.

A six foot tall striker, Paynter started his career as an academy product of Port Vale after originally being born and brought up in Liverpool.

After signing professionally a the start of the 2000/01 season, Paynter made his debut on the final day of the same season and went on to make 158 appearances for Vale and score 34 times in the process before moving on loan to Hull City in November 2005.

On January 2nd 2006, after his inital loan spell with Hull had finished, Paynter had done enough to convince the Tigers to sign him permanently thanks to three goals in nine games.

However, his time as a permanent Hull player was not as prosperous and in a further 14 appearances for the club, the striker failed to score, signalling a move away from the KC Stadium to Southend in August 2006.

Paynter made just eight appearances for Southend in the Championship last season, scoring his only goal in a League Cup game and in January 2007 he moved on loan to Bradford for the remainder of the season where he netted four goals in 15 games.

Paynter joined Swindon on deadline day of the summer transfer window and he certainly appears to have found his level in League One with five goals (including a hatrick) already scored in six appearances.

Good pace and an eye for goal help the striker who is still only 23 years of age but has been playing since he was 17. He wears the number 20 shirt for Swindon and will, undoubtably, pester the Tranmere defence on Saturday.

Paynter however didn't have a good have the best of times however at Hull and lasted just

Around League One:

There are, as ever, some key fixtures in Coca-Cola League One this weekend, with most teams playing their twelfth league game of the season this Saturday.

Both Tranmere and Swindon could find themselves in the play-offs come Saturday, should Rovers be defeat by Swindon with results going against the Rovers and in favour of the Robins.

Swindon go in to the fixture on 16 points from ten games, meaning they have a game in hand on most of the teams in the league, whilst Carlisle, the team currently occupying the final play-off place, are on 18 points. Tranmere meanwhile are on 20 points from their opening 11 fixtures after their dissapointing 0-0 draw with Walsall last Friday night, meaning they are one of three teams who currently have a hold on the top spot with Leyton Orient and Swansea City also on 20 points.

Fixtures this weekend however could see some interesting developments in the table. Leyton Orient will be looking to patch up their recent poor form as they face Port Vale who are already struggling down the wrong end of the table. Orient picked up a 1-1 draw with Leeds last weekend whilst their opponents Port Vale lost 1-0 at home to Brighton and Hove Albion.

The other top side, Swansea City, also have a home fixture as they play Hartlepool United at the Liberty Stadium. Swansea moved to the top spot last Sunday after a 4-1 win at Bournemouth whilst Hartlepool themselves are only seventh and a win for them could leave them joint top if all the results above them went their way. Indeed, they are on 17 points and could be on the same points as Swansea should they win and will almost certainly be in the play-offs if they bag the three points.

High flying Nottingham Forest, now fourth after a great run of form and with a lot of it to hand to the form of Kris Commons who got a hatrick against Cheltenham in a 3-0 win, by no means have an easy game as they player Doncaster Rovers at the City Ground, with Donny on the back of a 2-0 win against Huddersfield Town in a Yorkshire Derby.

Other fixtures see Dennis Wise's Leeds United make the long trip South to Brighton whilst in the relegation zone there is an already crucial three points up for grabs as Millwall and Bournemouth meet at the New Den.

Team News:

Rovers are expected to be able to call upon the services of striker Chris Greenacre again as the striker returns from an infected toe, whilst Danny Coyne is also available for selection again following International duty. However, Adnan Ahmed is away on international duty with Pakistan and is therefore unavailable whilst John Mullin (ankle) and Steve Davies (knee) are also both injured.

Jones' Prediction: Swindon Town 2-2 Tranmere Rovers