Tranmere Rovers vs. Blackpool match preview

Greenacre looking to score for the third game running
It's all set up to be another thirlling night on the Wirral at Prenton Park this Friday, as Tranmere Rovers play host to Blackpool.

Both sides are looking to put early pressure on the teams above them, with Tranmere hoping to propel themselves up into the automatic promotion spots once again, whilst Blackpool will be looking for three points and eigth place.

Blackpool team profile:

Formed: 1877

Ground: Bloomfield Road

Manager: Simon Grayson

Nickname: The Tangerines

Season Finish 2005/06: 19th (Coca-Cola League One)

Previous Meetings:

Last season, both meetings between the two sides ended all square, as at Prenton Park the game finished 2-2 and then at Bloomfield Road in December, Blackpool scored a late equaliser to earn a 1-1 draw.

At Prenton Park on August 9th, Rovers first home game of the season, Tranmere drew 2-2 with Blackpool in League One.

The game will be remembered for the one when Iain Hume scored his final Tranmere game, a trademark 25-yard strike, which gave Tranmere the lead on 38-minutes.

However, Scott Vernan equalised on 45 minutes for Colin Hendry's side, before Chris Greenacre scored his first Tranmere goal on the stroke of half time to give Rovers the lead again.

On 69-minutes, now Macclesfield striker John Murphy scored the final goal of the game to make it 2-2 and keep Rovers in search of that first win.

Four months later on Saturday 10th December, the two sides met again, this time at Bloomfield Road in Coca-Cola League One.

The game was another which Rovers lead but sacrificed the lead, as Delroy Facey netted for the fifth game running in the 81st minute. But a mix-up between Ian Goodison and Steve Wilson handed Blackpool the points, as former Everton player Peter Clarke was allowed to walk the ball into the net and claim the 1-1 draw.

Vital Stats:

One of Tranmere's only every victories on television came against Blackpool, as Rovers defeated The Seasiders 4-0 under Dave Watson at Prenton Park

Four of the last five meetings between the two sides have finished in draws

Rovers possess a 100% record over Blackpool in November, having won three out of three games without even conceeding a goal

Blackpool have only ever won once at Prenton Park in 15 visits

Rovers have scored 33 goals against Blackpool at Prenton Park (15 games)

The Form Book:

Tranmere last 6 home games (including cup): WWLLDD
Blackpool last 6 away games (including cup): WDDWWL

Blackpool, who could be described as "The Chelsea of League One" due to the money being pumped into the club by Latvian Owner Valeri Belakon, have been on a great run of form lately, which ultimately see's them on a run of nine games without defeat, including six wins.

On the road this season, The Tangerines have picked up just twelve points from an available 27, but of these twelve points, seven have come in their last three league games.

In the F.A. Cup, Blackpool beat Huddersfield Town 1-0 at The Galpharm, whilst they also picked up a point at Northampton thanks to a 1-1 draw.

The Seasiders drew 4-4 with League Two outfit Accrington Stanley in the Johnstone's Paint Trohpy before ultimately losing 4-2 on penalties (this game is counted as a draw) whilst they also picked up wins against Brighton and Hove Albion (3-0) and Crewe Alexandra (2-1).

Blackpool have also lost 1-0 to Carlisle United and drawn 0-0 at Doncaster Rovers, the exact same results as Rovers picked up at these respective venues.

For Tranmere, it has been an up and down season at Prenton Park, as after winning their first four home games on the bounce, Ronnie Moore's side then went three home games without a win and since have won three out of their last four home games, their only defeat coming in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

Tranmere started off with wins against Oldham Athletic (1-0), Yeovil Town (2-1), Leyton Orient (3-0) and Bristol City (1-0) before going on that three match run without a home win.

Rovers drew with Nottingham Forest (0-0) and Huddersfield Town (2-2, having lead 2-0) before losing to Port Vale (1-0), their only home league defeat this season.

Since, Tranmere have hardly looked back, as Bournemouth (1-0), Millwall (3-1) and Woking (4-2) have all been defeated since, with the only blip coming against Darlington in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy when Tranmere lost 1-0.

Double Hit:

This week we feature two players who have played for both Blackpool and Tranmere, one who is still at the Seasiders and one who played for Tranmere in the Worthington Cup final.

Firstly, Mike Jackson, who left Tranmere during the summer to sign for Blackpool. The former Rovers defender started his career at Crewe, where he played just nine games before joining Bury.

Whilst at Bury, Jackson's career began to blossom, as he made 145 league and cup appearances for the Shakers, scoring 10 goals.

Jackson's form at Bury earned himself a £125,000 move to Lancashire rivals Preston and North End, where he played over 280 games in the league and cup, scoring an impressive 19 goals in seven seasons with the club.

However, Jackson fell out of favour at Deepdale after David Moyes' departure to Everton and was signed on-loan at Prenton Park by then Tranmere manager Ray Mathias, playing six games for Rovers.

18-months later, Jackson moved to Prenton Park on a permanent contract, where he remained for two-seasons, which included being made club-captain and reaching the League One play-off Semi Finals in the 2004/05.

After making 96 appearances for Tranmere, all from the starting line-up, Jackson moved to Blackpool this summer on a free-transfer where he has already played 19 games, scoring one goal.

Next, we feature current MK Dons striker, Scott Taylor, who was part of the Tranmere Rovers side that made it to the Worthington Cup final in the 1999/2000 season.

Taylor has played for eight league clubs in his eleven season league career to date, including wo spells on the seaside at Blackpool, whilst also totaling £715,000 in transfer fee's.

After moving to Millwall from Staines in 1995, Taylor went on to play 22 games for The Lions before moving to Division 1 (now Coca-Cola Championship) side Bolton Wanderers for £150,000.

Taylor made 17 appearances for the Trotters, scoring four goals and also spent time at Rotherham and Blackpool on-loan spells whilst with Bolton. at Rotherham, Taylor scored three goals in 11 games and then two in six for Blackpool, before he was snapped up by John Aldridge at Tranmere for £350,000 on Ocotber 9th 1998.

Taylor spent nearly three years on Merseyside, before he left Tranmere after the side we relegated under John Aldridge in the 2000/01 season.

Whilst on the Wirral, Taylor scored 22 goals in 130 appearances for The Super White Army, but undoubtably the highlight of his time at Tranmere will have been that League Cup final, not his miss against Ipswich at Prenton Park which earned him a place on a Soccer AM dvd featuring the worst misses of all time!

Taylor joined Stockport on a free-transfer before moving to Blackpool, where he undoubtably had the best time of his career, as he scored 61 goals in 135 games before moving to Plymouth for £100,000 and then on to MK Dons last season for £100,000, where he continues to play today.

Team News:

Ronnie Moore has a number of injury worries once again ahead of this Friday night fixture, with Kevin Ellison and Steve Jennings once again set to miss out with injuries.
Danny Harrison sits out the first of a three match ban, meaning one or both of Mike Jones and Craig Curran could once again win a place on the subs bench, whilst Carl Tremarco and Calvin Zola are both doubts.

As things stand, John Thompson will play the final game of his one month loan spell, although Ronnie Moore is trying to keep the Irishman on Merseyside.

Jones' Prediction: Tranmere 3-1 Blackpool