Tranmere Rovers vs. Chesterfield match preview

Last updated : 28 February 2007 By Matthew Jones
Shuker looks to continue good goalscoring form as Rovers take on Chesterfield
Friday night football returns to Prenton Park after a six week absense this week as Tranmere Rovers take on Chesterfield in Coca-Cola League One.

Rovers will be looking for three points after two dissapointing results in their last two outings as they try to secure their place in the play-offs whilst a win would also give Rovers just their second double of the season.

Chesterfield team profile:

Formed: 1866

Ground: Saltergate

Manager: Roy McFarland

Nickname: The Spireites

Season Finish 2005/06: 16th (Coca-Cola League One)

Previous Meetings:

When Tranmere Rovers play Chesterfield, they always tend to get a good result, especially at Saltergate where they won 2-0 on August 26th earlier this season.

For Rovers, the first half was especially poor and after an extra-time defeat to Hull City in the League Cup four days previous, Ronnie Moore's men looked tired.

However, they took the lead in the 44th minute thanks to an Aaron Downes own goal after Roach only parried Ellison's shot as far as Mullin who smashed the ball against two Chesterfield players and into the net.

In the 67th minute, Rovers double their advantage thanks to a first Tranmere goal for Gareth Taylor and undoubtably his best.

The Welsh International was set in the clear by Paul McLaren and as he beat the offside trap, goalkeeper Roach came out to meet the advancing Rovers number nine.

However, Taylor simply lofted the ball over Roach and into the back of the Chesterfield net from 30 yards to put Rovers 2-0 up and game over.

Vital Stats:

Rovers have won 24 out of 48 meetings between the two sides at Prenton Park

Rovers have lost just one of their last nine games against Chesterfield, currently five unbeaten

Tranmere have scored 82 goals in 48 games against The Spireites

In the last 23 meetings between the two sides, there has been just one 0-0 draw (2nd February 2002)

Tranmere have won three out of nine games on March 2nd

The Form Book:

Tranmere Last 6 Home Games: DWDWDW
Chesterfield Last 6 Away Games: DLDWLL

Chesterfield have found away victories hard to come by this season, with just three wins in 17 outings on the road in the 2006/07 season.

In their last six away games, the team from Saltergate have shown a distinct sign of inconsistency, with just one compared to two draws and three defeats.

In their most recent outing on the road, Roy McFarland's team draw 0-0 at Carlisle United, a place where Rovers lost 1-0 earlier this season, this coming after a 2-1 defeat at The New Den to Millwall.

Before this, Chesterfield hadbeen on a two match unbeaten run on the road, follwoing up an excellent 1-0 win at Rotherham in which Caleb Folan, now at Wigan, scored the only goal with a 1-1 draw at the Galpharm Stadium against Huddersfield Town.

The two other games in the six match sequence saw Chesterfield pick up no points as they lost 2-1 to Brentford and 1-0 to Scunthorpe United. In fact, Scunthorpe were on a run of seven games on the road without a win.

Noteable away results for Chesterfield this season see them having defeated Oldham Athletic 1-0 in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy along with a 2-1 win at Brighton and Hove Albion and an impressive 3-0 win at Bournemouth on the opening day of the season.

Although Tranmere are currently on a six match streak without defeat at Prenton Park, it is easy to see that they simply having been picking up enough wins at their home this season, with three draws and three wins in their last six in Birkenhead.

Most recently at Prenton Park, Rovers had to come from 2-0 down against Cheltenham Town to earn a 2-2 draw, this following a 1-0 home win against Doncaster Rovers, watched by just 5,965 fans.

Before the Doncaster game and in Rovers last Friday night match, Rovers had drawn 1-1 with Doncaster Rovers whilst having defeated Crewe Alexandra 1-0 just three days earlier.

Over New Year, Rovers beat Rotherham United 2-1 thanks to goals from Gareth Taylor and Shane Sherriff, each being the most recent goals they have scored for the club, whilst they followed this up with a 1-1 draw against Northampton Town five days later.

Other noteable results at Prenton Park for Tranmere Rovers this season see them having defeated Yeovil Town 2-1, Blackpool 2-0, Oldham Atheltic 1-0 and Millwall 3-1.

Double Hit:

With Tranmere and Chesterfield being reasonably close geographically and in terms of quality, naturally there are a number of links between the two sides, including current Chesterfield manager Roy McFarland and players Paul Hall, Wayne "The Chief" Allison, Shane Nicholson and Reuben Hazell, who will be featured today after Allison and Hall have been mentioned earlier in the season.

Hazell started of his career at Aston Villa but the 5'11 Brummie was released from his contract at Villa Park after failing to make an appearance in July of 1999 and quickly snapped up on a free-transfer by John Aldridge at Tranmere.

The defender who can play all the way across the back line made his debut for Rovers on the opening day of the season in a 0-0 draw against Bolton Wanderers in Division One.

Over the next seven months of the season, Hazell made a further 29 appearances in his first season at Prenton Park and helped Tranmere to the Worthington Cup Final and F.A. Cup Final as well as finishing just above mid-table in Division One.

One moment that Hazell has to remember from that season was his first professional goal against Portsmouth and a terrific goal line clearance in the League Cup Semi-Final at Prenton Park against Bolton.

Hazell played in both the League Cup Final and F.A. Cup Quarter Final against Leicester City and Newcastle United but couldn't prevent Tranmere from losing 2-1 and 3-2 in consecutive games.

The next season wasn't so successful for Hazell, with a sending off in his first game of the season against Portsmouth and then injury brought his season to an end on New Years Day 2001 after just 15 appearances.

Hazell made just eight more appearances in the 2001/02 season for Rovers under Dave Watson after Rovers relegation and the departure of John Aldridge, including another sending off against Colchester and on 10th January 2002 Hazell moved to Torquay United on loan.

During his one month loan spell with the Southern club, Hazell made five appearances and did enough to convince the club to sign him permenantly from Tranmere on February 8th 2002.

He went on to make a further 81 appearances for the club, scoring 2 goals against Rochdale and Oxford in another two and a half years with the club before signing for Kidderminster Harriers on July 20th 2004.

In total, Hazell spent 53 weeks at Kiddesminster and failed to make an appearance before moving to Chesterfield on July 27th 2005, where he remains today, having made 80 appearances for the club, scoring one goal.

One To Watch:

The loss of free-scoring striker Caleb Folan to Wigan, who has contributed 12 goals to the Chesterfield attack this season, is something that The Spireites will find hard to replace.

However, an other player whom Rovers and Ronnie Moore should be wary of is striker Colin Larkin, who wears the number 10 shirt for Chesterfield.

Striker Larkin started his career off at Wolves in 1999, making four league and cup appearances whilst with The Wanderers, scoring one goal, in three years at the club.

He spent the 2001/02 season out on-loan at Kidderminster where he made 35 appearances but scored just seven goals before leaving Wolves for The Stags of Mansfield on 31st July 2002.

He spent two years at The Field Mill, scoring 26 goals in 106 games for the club after his £125,000 transfer but was released from his contract and signed for Mansfield's rivals Chesterfield on 13th June 2005.

Larkin has now been at Chesterfield for nearly two seasons and in the process he has made 78 league and cup appearances, scoring 13 goals of which six goals have come this season.

Standing at 5'09, Larkin is a quick striker who has the ability to trouble any defence. His last goals came on December 9th in Chesterfields 2-1 win over Oldham.

Team News:

Rovers still have a number of injury worries hanging over them, as John Thompson and John Achterberg will once again miss out through injury whilst Robbie Stockdale is still a major doubt despite returning to training. However, Rovers will be able to welcome back Ian Goodison and Chris McCready from suspension whilst Ben Hinchcliffe could make his first appearance for Tranmere after signing from Preston North End.

Jones' Prediction: Tranmere 2-0 Chesterfield