Tranmere Rovers vs Crewe Alexandra match preview

Achterberg to continue in goal as Rovers look for first win in two
Just three days after drawing 2-2 with Northampton Town at Prenton Park, Tranmere welcome Crewe to the Wirral as they go in search of a crucial win.

Ronnie Moore and his side will know very well how important it is that Rovers pick up home wins after two consecutive draws, whilst a defeat for Tranmere could see them lying in ninth place come 10pm Tuesday evening. Crewe meanwhile have struggled this season so far and a defeat for them could leave them in the relegation zona after the fixture.

Crewe Alexandra team profile:

Formed: 1877

Ground: Gresty Road

Manager: Steve Holland

Nickname: The Alex/The Railwaymen

Season Finish 2006/07: 13th (Coca-Cola League One)

Previous Meetings:

Last season Tranmere picked up four points against Crewe as the sides met for the first time since Tranmere's relegation from Division One.

The first meeting between the two sides was originally squedualled for a December Friday night, but was twice postponed due to firstly rain and then fog, meaning the fixture was eventually played in January.

It wasn't one really worth waiting for either, as Gareth Taylor got the only goal of the game against his former club as he fired into the back of the net after Zola charged down a clearance from Baudet.

The next meeting between the two sides was Rovers final away game of the season as the two sides met at Gresty Road on April 28th.

With both sides season's over, there was only pride to play for but a healthy crowd watched a 1-1 draw in the April sunshine.

The first action of the game involved Gavin Ward as the Rovers goalkeeper was given a straight red card for handling outside the area. That touch was his final one in a Rovers shirt, some would say a fitting tribute after a poor season for the shot stopper.

The ten men of Tranmere took the lead after 51-minutes however as Danny Harrison scored his final goal for the club before a summer move to Rotherham, the midfielder hitting the ball with the outside of his foot into the top corner after good hold up play from Zola.

However, on 92-minutes Crewe equalised through Miller netting past substitute Hinchcliffe from Maynards cross when it had first appeared that Greenacre had been fouled near the half way line and then looking as if the ball had gone out of play before Maynard crossed.

Vital Stats:

This is one of the most played fixtures in Tranmere's history, with the two sides having met 125 times before Tuesday night

Tranmere and Crewe have met every decade since the 1920's when Tranmere Rovers first competed in the Football League

Rovers have scored 132 goals in 63 previous home games against the Railway Men

Crewe have one just one of their last eight October meetings with Tranmere

Rovers have won 37 of 63 home games against Crewe, the Alex winning just 11 times

On This Day:

2004: Tranmere draw a vital promotion race game against Luton Town 1-1 as second entertained first at Prenton Park

2002: Rovers are hammered 6-1 by Southampton in the League Cup

1973: Tranmere defeat Arsenal 1-0 in the League Cup at Highbury, the only meeting to date between the two sides which means Tranmere are the only club with a 100% record at Highbury and a 100% record against Arsenal

The Form Book:

Tranmere first 5 home games: DWLWL
Crewe first 5 away games: LLDDD

It's not been a good start to the season for Steve Holland and Crewe to the 2007/08 season, particularly on the road where the Alex are yet to win this season in five previous outings.

Crewe's first away game of the season saw them get a creditable 1-1 draw with Swindon before two weeks later they again picked up a respectable point on the road, this time drawing 1-1 with another team recently promoted to League One, Bristol Rovers.

However, it has been down hill for the Alex ever since, as they first went out of the Johnstone's Paints Trophy in the first round to Chester City at the Deva Stadium, losing 4-3 on penalties after the match had been tied 1-1 after 90 minutes.

Their next outing was against Doncaster Rovers when Crewe were defeated 2-0 before Crewe made the short journey to Boundary Park to play Oldham Athletic last Saturday where they lost 3-2.

In a total of four away league games this season, Crewe have picked up just two points from an available 12, losing two games and drawing two.

At Gresty Road, notable results include a 2-1 opening day win over Brighton and Hove Albion aswell as a 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town.

Tranmere are currently on an unbeaten run in the league which stretched back to an opening day defeat at home to Leeds United, losing 2-1 after Chris Greenacre had given Rovers a half time lead.

Rovers since however have picked up two wins and a draw in the league at home, starting with a 2-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion two weeks after the Leeds defeat.

Following this, Tranmere beat Luton Town 2-1 at Prenton Park, Kay and Curran scoring goals in the last six minutes to pull Rovers from one down to win the game before Tranmere again came from behind to draw 2-2 with Northampton Town in the league only a few days ago.

Tranmere's only home game in the cup competitions so far this season was a Johnstone's Paint Trophy first round game against league newboys Morecambe, a game Rovers lost 1-0.

Noteable away results so far this season have seen Tranmere win 2-0 against Gillingham and get a very good 1-0 win away to Carlisle United.

From a total of four home league games so far this season, Rovers have picked up seven points from an available 12, losing one game, drawing one and winning two.

Double Hit:

A great number of players have represented both Crewe and Tranmere Rovers in the past, including current Rovers player Gareth Taylor and current Crewe player Chris McCready.

Another player who has represented both clubs is former Liverpool midfielder Alan Navarro, who currently finds himself at League Two side MK Dons.

Navarro started his career as a trainee at Liverpool but never made an appearance for the club.

During the 2000/01 season and the 2001/02 season the industrious midfielder spent time on loan at Crewe, making eight appearances and scoring once in his first spell with the club before making nine appearances for the club in his second loan spell the next season.

Later on in the 2001/02 season, Navarro joined Tranmere on loan on an inital three month loan spell and four appearances for the club whilst socring twice, enough to convince the club to pay £225,000 for his services on a permanent basis on January 23rd 2002.

Navarro had a good start to life with Tranmere, however, injury would eventually come to plague his time with the club. After over three and a half years with the club, Navarro had managed just 48 appearances after a horrific knee injury and after loan spells with Chester and Macclesfield, Navarro joined Accrington in September 2005.

Three appearances and a month later, Navarro returned to Macclesfield Town where he remained until the summer, making 71 appearances for the club before moving with manager Paul Ince to MK Dons on August 1st, where he has made seven appearances since joining.

A creative midfielder, Navarro is not afraid to shoot and created a number of goals in his time at Tranmere and still does so today for MK Dons.

One To Watch: Stephen Schumacher

Like Alan Navarro, Schumacher is another central midfielder who started off with one of the two "big" scouse clubs, however the 23-year old started his career at Everton instead of Liverpool

At Everton, Schumacher failed to break into the first team and after a two month loan spell at Carlisle which saw him make six appearances and score one in the 2003/04 season and a loan spell at Oldham where he failed to make an appearance, Schumacher joined Bradford on a free transfer in pre-season 2004.

The midfielder settled in at Valley Parade immediately and remained with the Bantams for three years before being released last summer following Bradford's relegation.

He made an impressive 130 appearances for the club and always weighed in with key goals, getting 15 for the club in his time with them including at least one against Tranmere.

Joining Crewe for a nominal fee in May, Schumacher was one of the first summer transfers and has made ten appearances for the Gresty Road side already this season, netting once in a league game against Swindon.

Wearing the number seven shirt for Crewe, Stephen is an energetic and very-tough tackling midfielder who certainlly isn't scared of a tackle. Not afraid to shoot, the six foot tall man will also create a number of goals for his side.

Around League One:

It's a full midweek fixture list in Coca-Cola League One with a number of big fixtures happening around the country.

Table toppers Leyton Orient, who lead Tranmere and Southend by four points, take the relitavely short journey to the Priestfield Stadium to take on managerless Gillingham. The Gills heald Leeds United to a 1-1 draw on Saturday whilst Orient came from 2-0 down to defeat Bristol Rovers 3-2 at the Memorial Stadium. In what is set to be a tough fixture for both sides, Orient could see their lead at the top of the table cut back to one point by 10pm whilst Gillingham will be looking for a win to push them out of the relegation zone.

Leeds United have a tough away fixture at Oldham Athletic with the visitors set to take over 4,000 fans to Boundary Park on what is only a 30 minute drive. Oldham have won their last couple of matches, indeed they themselves also came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at the weekend, this against Tranmere's opposition Crewe and a win for either club would move them further away from the relegation places each has occupied so far this season.

Another promotion game see's the two most northern clubs in Coca-Cola League one play each other as 5th placed Hartlepool entertain 4th placed Carlise with only one point, in Carlisle's favour, seperating the two clubs. A win for either could move them into the automatic promotion spots.

Third placed Southend who Tranmere play next week are away to Bristol Rovers, knowing that any result better than Tranmere's will move them into second place. The Pirates meanwhile will be looking to pick themselves up following a 3-2 defeat to Bristol Rovers at the weekend.

Team News:

Ronnie Moore will now definately be without winger Steve Davies who will have a scan on the knee injury he picked up against Northampton on the day of the Crewe match. John Mullin is still out with an ankle injury whilst Danny Coyne's calf injury could yet keep him out of the game against Southend next Saturday too. One bit of good news for the Rovers boss however is that Calvin Zola could return to the side following a hamstring injury.

Jones' Prediction: Tranmere 2-0 Crewe