Tranmere Rovers vs. Doncaster Rovers match preview

Another clean sheet against Doncaster please Danny!
Once again, it's Rovers vs. Rovers in League One this weekend, as Doncaster Rovers make the short trip from Yorkshire to Prenton Park to take on Tranmere.

This is another big game in the promotion race for both sides, with Doncaster looking to recover from a defeat to Carlisle last weekend and Tranmere looking to extend their eight match unbeaten run.

Doncaster Rovers team profile:

Formed: 1879

Ground: The Keepmoat Stadium

Manager: Sean O'Driscoll

Nickname: Rovers

Season Finish 2006/07: 11th (Coca-Cola League One)

Previous Meetings:

For the third season in succession, Tranmere kept a clean sheet in Doncaster this year as they picked up a 0-0 draw in their first visit to Doncaster's new Keepmoat Stadium.

It was an even game, with niether team having any clear cut chances in the first half, although Rovers could have had an early penalty when Chris Shuker appeared to be tripped in the penalty area.

The game turned sour on 47-minutes when Carl Tremarco was given a straight red card for a poor tackle on Richie Wellens. Although Tremarco won the ball, he had jumped in off the floor and both feet were high.

Tremarco's sending off allowed Andy Taylor, recently signed on loan from Blackburn, to come on an make his debut and he immediately slotted into the first team.

After the sending off, the away team came close to scoring as Paul McLaren smashed a free-kick against the cross-bar whilst the referee continued to write himself into the Tranmere fans' bad books by missing a horrible, late and dangerous tackle on Ahmed that was worthy of a red card whilst numerous Rovers players were harshly booked.

With the game heading to a 0-0 draw, Doncaster so nearly grabbed the points in the final minute, as Danny Coyne somehow flicked a James Coppinger's deflected effort over the bar.

Vital Stats:

The away side has kept a clean sheet in four of the last five games between these sides, with Tranmere the only team to score in a 1-0 win at Prenton Park between the two teams last season

Tranmere have won 16 out of 34 meetings between these two teams at Prenton Park, with Doncaster picking up 11 away wins

In a total of 71 meetings between the two teams at all venues, Doncaster have scored 118 goals to Tranmere's 82

Between 1923/24 and 1934/35, Doncaster and Tranmere were in Division Three North together but were then only in the same division for one of the next eleven seasons

In four games in March between the two Rovers, there have been two wins each

On This Day:

2003: Tranmere beat Brentford 2-1 at Griffin Park, with Sharps and Hume getting the Tranmere goals

2000: Rovers, managed by John Aldridge, win 2-1 away at Portsmouth in Division One

1947: A Division Three North match between Tranmere and Doncaster at Prenton Park ends in a 5-3 win to Doncaster

In 14 games on March 1st, Tranmere have picked up five wins, five defeats and four draws. They have scored 25 and conceded 25 goals in these 14 games

The Form Book:

Tranmere last 6 home games: WDWWLD
Doncaster last 6 away games: LWWWDW

Despite their defeat on the road last weekend, Doncaster are in good form away from the Keepmoat Stadium, having lost just one of their last six on the road.

The Rovers started their six match sequence with a 4-0 thrashing of Crewe at Gresty Road before they picked up a useful point at Walsall thanks to a 1-1 draw.

Brian Stock then scored the all important goal in a 1-0 win at Elland Road over Leeds United in a game watched by over 31,000 fans before Sean O'Driscoll's side picked up an emphatic 3-0 win over Millwall at the New Den.

A third consecutive win on the road came at Dean Court as Jason Price scored twice in a 2-0 win over Bournemouth before Doncaster lost 1-0 away to Carlisle United last weekend.

Other impressive results on the road for Doncaster this season include wins over Swansea City (2-1), Swindon Town (2-1) and Port Vale (3-1).

On the road, Doncaster have picked up seven wins, five draws and just four defeats from their 16 games, meaning they have a total of 28 points from an available 48.

Notable results at the Keepmoat Stadium for Doncaster this season include wins over Carlisle United (1-0), Southend United (3-1) and Leyton Orient (4-2).

Tranmere Rovers are currently on a good run of form at Prenton Park, having lost just one of their last nine games on home soil.

Rovers started their six match run with a 2-2 draw against Hereford in the F.A. Cup, a game in which they had to twice come from behind, before putting in a terrible performance as they lost 2-0 at home to Bristol Rovers in Coca-Cola League One.

Ronnie Moore's side are however unbeaten on home soil since, first picking up a 2-1 victory at home to Yeovil Town before winning 2-0 against Gillingham at Prenton Park.

A 1-1 draw with Leyton Orient followed, although Tranmere could quite easily have won that game, before Ronnie Moore's side won 2-0 against Millwall in their last home game.

Other notable home results for Tranmere include wins over Carlisle United (2-0), Huddersfield Town (3-0), Luton Town (2-1) and Bournemouth (3-1).

Ronnie Moore's side have picked up 31 points from an available 51 at Prenton Park after nine wins, four draws and four defeats from 17 games.

Impressive results on the road for Tranmere include wins away to Leeds United (2-0), Carlisle United (1-0), Southend United (2-1) and Gillingham (2-0).


Double Hit:

There are currently three players at Doncaster Rovers who have played for Tranmere: Gareth Taylor, Gareth Roberts and Jason Price.

Welsh midfielder Jason Price was spotted by Swansea City playing for his local club Aberaman and he signed for the Welsh club playing in the English league in 1995.

Price stayed with Swansea for six years and made 148 league and cup appearances for the club, scoring 18 goals in the process, before being released and joining Brentford on a free-transfer in August 2001.

He was however to stay with Brentford for just three months, as after making eighteen appearances and scoring once for the Griffin Park club, Price joined up with Dave Watson at Tranmere Rovers in November 2001.

Price was to become an influential player for Tranmere. Able to play on the left or right wing as well as right-back, Price made a number of appearances for Tranmere, under firstly Watson and later Ray Mathias, in the centre-forward position.

A 20-month stint on the Wirral saw him make 54 appearances and score 15 goals for the club before joining Hull City on a free-transfer in the summer of 2003.

Price was with Hull as they moved up from League Two to the Coca-Cola Championship as he stayed with the club for three years, making 84 appearances and scoring 16 goals for the club.

Indeed, one of those goals was in a 3-1 win for Hull over Tranmere at Prenton Park, a key win for the Tigers as they beat one of their promotion rivals.

On 24th January 2006, Price joined Doncaster Rovers on a free-transfer, a club with whom he has remained since the transfer. The 30-year old has now played 78 games and scored 22 goals for the club, including eight goals this season.


One To Watch: Lewis Guy

Lewis Guy is a short yet pacey striker who joined Doncaster Rovers from Premier League side Newcastle United in March 2003.

Guy made one appearance for the Magpies, making his debut in a 0-0 draw with Sporting Lisbon, before signing for Doncaster on a free-transfer in March 2003.

The 22-year old is now in his fourth season with Doncaster and he has now made 131 appearances for the club, although nearly half of these have come as a substitute.

The Doncaster number seven has scored 22 goals for the club, with eight of them coming this season, although he hasn't scored since December when he netted once in Doncaster's 4-0 away win at Crewe.

Standing at 5'10, Guy isn't the tallest and will struggle against the height and strength of Goodison and Kay at the back for Tranmere, but he has pace to burn and will run his socks off upfront if he plays for Sean O'Driscoll's side.

Around League One:

There are few games as important as this match this weekend, with Tranmere in sixth taking on fourth placed Doncaster at Prenton Park.

A win for Tranmere can move them to just one point behind Doncaster and up to fifth in the table ahead of Walsall as they look to close the four point gap that has opened between fifth and fourth. Doncaster however can move back above Nottingham Forest and Carlisle with a win, with those two teams meeting in a crucial game live on Sky on Monday night.

One Friday night fixture in League One sees Southend United travel to Cheltenham Town with a chance of moving ahead of Tranmere and Walsall until Saturday at least as they lie two points outside the play-offs whilst a win for Cheltenham will keep them out of the relegation zone for another week.

Swansea City travel to Huddersfield on Saturday as they look to extend their 12 point lead at the top of the table although it looks as if the Welsh side won't be caught now by anybody in behind them whilst fifth placed Walsall have a tricky away test at struggling Luton who are now ten points away from safety in 22nd place in League One.

Leyton Orient can move level on points with Tranmere and Walsall at least, but it would take a massive win for the O's at Brighton to go ahead of the two teams due to their goal difference, but a win of any kind would be a good result for Martin Ling's side as they travel to the Withdean Stadium.

Leeds United have slipped to eighth in the table and are now five points outside the play-offs, but they will be looking for an important win as they travel to Swindon for a 2:00pm kick off on Saturday.


Team News:

Ronnie Moore is without wingers Chris Shuker and Steve Davies as they continue their rehabilitation from knee injuries whilst Steven Jennings sits out the first game of a three match ban. Otherwise the Tranmere manager should have a fully fit squad to chose from after Calvin Zola's return from injury at Bristol Rovers last weekend.


Jones' Prediction: Tranmere Rovers 2-1 Doncaster Rovers

Tranmere are on a good run at the moment, especially at Prenton Park, and they will no doubt be looking to continue that run this weekend against a team who are definately rivals for a play-off place.

Last weekend, Doncaster lost away to Carlisle United and perhaps might be lacking in confidence ahead of this game. Tranmere on the other hand will be full of it and a return to a pitch of a decent standard this weekend should definately aid their performance.

Against Bristol Rovers, Tranmere often bypassed the midfield and if they are to win this weekend that will have to change, as Paul McLaren's passing is key to Tranmere's performance whilst they should also look to get the ball out on to the wings more from where they can cross it in to Strikers greenacre and Moore.

John Mullin is set to start with Jennings suspended, and this is his chance to re-claim a first team spot. At Bristol Rovers last weekend, the midfielder looked lively and a repeat performance this weekend wouldn't do his chances any harm.

Rovers will have to defend solidly against a Doncaster side who are certainly not short of goals, but with Goodison and Kay currently in the form that they are in, another clean sheet could be on the cards for Ronnie Moore's side.