Tranmere Rovers vs. Huddersfield Town match preview

By Matthew Jones
Last updated : 13 March 2009
Kay looking to score his tenth goal of the season this weekend
Just three days after beating Leicester City at Prenton Park, Tranmere Rovers played their second consecutive home game this weekend as they take on Yorkshire side Huddersfield Town on the Wirral.

Rovers will be looking to complete the double over The Terriers and pick up a win which could see them in the play-offs by 5pm on Saturday evening, though it won't be an easy game for Ronnie Moore's side against Lee Clark's revitalised side.

Huddersfield Town team profile:

Formed: 1895

Ground: The Galpharm Stadium

Manager: Lee Clark

Nickname: The Terriers

Season Finish 2006/07: 10th (Coca-Cola League One)

Previous Meetings:

Tranmere Rovers travelled to the Galpharm Stadium on Saturday 13th September, but it wasn't unlucky number 13 for Tranmere, who picked up their first away win over the season.

Ronnie Moore's side fell behind with just sixteen minutes on the clock, when Liam Dickinson, on-loan with Town from Championship side Derby County, curled a free-kick round the wall and into the Tranmere goal, though Danny Coyne would have been bitterly disappointed to have conceded in such fashion, having got a hand on the ball.

Dickinson came close again moments later as his header flashed just wide of the post, before Chorley and Coyne teamed up to keep the score at 1-0, with Chorley first blocking Keigan Parker's effort befor Coyne saved the resulting rebound from Dickinson.

Despite Huddersfield's pressure though, Tranmere pulled level with six minutes of the half left, as Gambian winger Eddy Sonko netted from outside the penalty area, vollying home Chris Greenacre's chest down following Ian Goodison's long clearance.

The second half was the exact opposite to the first, as this time Tranmere dominated and it's hardly surprising that their goal came just minutes into the second period, when on-loan defender Ryan Shotton flicked Andy Taylor's free-kick into the net, Shotton's first goal for the club.

Sonko came close again late on, whilst Greenacre hit the post, but the score remained at 2-1 as Tranmere picked up an invaluable win.

Vital Stats:

In twenty home games against Huddersfield, Tranmere have picked up thirteen wins and four draws, losing on just four occasions

Tranmere have lost just two of their last eleven games against the Terriers, with both defeats coming at the Galpharm Stadium

Rovers have won seven and drawn one of their last eight home matches against Huddersfield

In 20 home games against Town, Tranmere have scored 36 goals, with Huddersfield netting just sixteen times

The home side has only failed to score once in the last twenty-two meetings between the two sides

On This Day:

2003: Rovers draw 3-3 with Cardiff City, with Robert Earnshaw scoring a hatrick for the visiters, including an injury time equaliser which proved to be the difference between Tranmere making the play-offs and not making the play-offs come May

2001: Tranmere lose 1-0 at home to Portsmouth on their way to relegation from Division One

1998: Huddersfield Town smash Tranmere 3-0 at the Galpharm Stadium in Division One

Tranmere have played fourteen previous fixtures on this day, picking up five wins, four draws and five defeats. They have scored 23 goals and conceded 22 in games on this day.

The Form Book:

Tranmere last six home games: WWDDDW
Huddersfield last six away games: DDLLLD

Tranmere's fantastic home win on Wednesday night extended their run of unbeaten home league games to fourteen, a run which has seen them pick up an impressive ten wins and has resulted in them having the second best home record in League One, second only to table topping Leicester City.

Tranmere started their six match sequence with a comfortable 2-1 home win over Stockport County, with Ian Moore and Gareth Edds on target for Rovers, before in their next home game they disappointinly drew 0-0 with lowly Leyton Orient.

Consecutive 1-1 draws with sides in the promotion frame followed for Ronnie Moore's side, firstly against Peterborough United, a game in which Charlie Barnett scored his first Tranmere goal, before three days later Tranmere were forced to come from behind to draw 1-1 with MK Dons, Terry Gornell scoring for Tranmere late on.

Rovers have since picked up consecutive wins, firstly beating Swindon Town thanks to a superb Antony Kay strike, before the Tranmere skipper popped up with an another gem on Wednesday night as his long range effort was Tranmere's first goal in a 2-0 win over Leicester City, the Foxes first defeat for 23 matches.

Other impressive home results for Tranmere this season include wins over Northampton Town (4-1), Leeds United (2-1), Scunthorpe United (2-0) and Walsall (2-1).

Tranmere Rovers have played nineteen home league games so far this season, picking up 40 of an available 57 points at Prenton Park, thanks to twelve wins, four draws and three defeats. This home record is the second best in League One, second only to their opponents in this match, Leicester City.

Notable away results for Tranmere this season include wins over Colchester United (1-0), Huddersfield Town (2-1), Leyton Orient (1-0) and Carlisle United (2-1).

Tranmere come into this game in ninth place in the League One table, having played 35 games and picked up 56 of an available 118 points, thanks to sixteen wins, eight draws and twelve defeats.

Despite their much stronger form under new manager Lee Clark, which has seen Huddersfield move up the table and become genuine play-off contenders, the Terriers away form has still been poor and they come into this game without a win in seven on the road, as well as having not won in their last five matches home or away.

They started their six match sequence with a 1-1 draw against Northampton Town, Phil Jevons scoring a second half goal for Huddersfield, before they lost 4-2 at the Walkers Stadium against Leicester City, this despite taking the lead through Jevons after six minutes.

Lee Clark's side then lost 1-0 at lowly Yeovil Town, a disappointing result for a team chasing promotion, a result that was compounded in their next away trip as they lost 3-1 at Gresty Road against Crewe.

Consecutive away draws have followed for the Terriers though, firstly in a local derby against Stockport County as Michael Collins scored early for the Terriers, only for Nathan Clarke to score an injury time own goal in a 1-1 draw, whilst last time out, on Tuesday, Huddersfield drew 1-1 with MK Dons thanks to a late deflected header from Butler.

Other notable away results for Town this season include wins against Cheltenham Town (2-1), Swindon Town (3-1), Leeds United (2-1) and Brighton (1-0).

Huddersfield Town have played seventeen away games so far this season and picked up twenty of an available 51 points thanks to five wins, five draws and seven defeats.

Impressive home results for Huddersfield include wins over Northampton Town (3-2), Walsall (2-1), Hereford (2-0) and Scunthorpe (2-0).

The Terriers come into this game in twelfth place in League One having played 36 games and picked up fifty of an available 118 points, thanks to thirteen wins, eleven draws and twelve defeats.

Double Hit:

There have been several players who have represented both Huddersfield Town and Tranmere Rovers in the recent past, including the likes of Sir Steve Yates and Wayne Allison.

A third player who has represented both clubs though is Tranmere's midfield legend Kenny Irons, a home grown midfielder who played under both John King and John Aldridge before leaving Rovers for Huddersfield.

Irons came through the Tranmere youth system and signed his first professional contract with the club in 1989.

Despite having a number of differences with then manager John King, Irons became a hugely popular and successful player with Rovers, making 429 appearances for the club in all competitions and scoring 67 goals.

The central midfielder stayed with Tranmere for ten years, and was a huge fan favourite. He had the ability to score plenty of goals from midfield whilst his passing range was exceptional.

However, a cash crisis at Prenton Park led to Irons being sold in 1999, with the midfielder, then 28, joining Huddersfield for £500,000.

Irons stayed with The Terriers for four years, making 170 appearances for the club and scoring thirteen goals, but he was never as successful for the Yorkshire club as he was at Tranmere.

In 2003, he left the Galpharm Stadium, or as it was then known, the McAlpine Stadium, moving across the Irish Sea to join Linfield before between 2004 and 2006, he returned to Britain to play in the Welsh Premier League with NEWI Cefn Druids and Caernarfon.

In 2008, Irons turned out for Tranmere once more as he played in the Masters Tournament along with other firm fan favourites of days gone by, including the likes of Steve Mungall, George Santos and Eddie Bishop.

Irons was instrumental in helping Tranmere to win the Merseyside Masters tournament before he aided Rovers in their passage to the Semi-Final of the National tournament, scoring a crucial penalty in the shoot-out win over Rangers before netting a brilliant long-range effort in the semi-final defeat against Manchester City.

Kenny Irons now works with Tranmere Rovers as a youth team coach, a position he was put in after Ronnie Moore returned to the club in 2006.

One To Watch: Gary Roberts

Midfielder Gary Roberts signed for Huddersfield in the summer from Ipswich Town for an undisclosed fee and has become one of the clubs key men this season.

Starting his career with the Crewe Alexandra, Roberts made his debut in the 03/04 season, but made only four appearances for the club before joining Accrington Stanley on a free transfer in 2005.

Whilst at Accrington, Roberts was a huge success. Playing on the wing, he was a central figure as Stanley returned to the Football League after several decades of absense.

He played for Stanley forn early two years and made 67 appearances for the club, scoring a hugely impressive 23 goals.

He attracted the attention of Ipswich midway through the 2006/07 season and in October 2006 he joined the club loan with a view to a permanent move.

During his two month loan spell with the Tractor Boys, Roberts made fourteen appearances and scored two goals for the Portman Road side and he signed a permanent deal with the club for an undisclosed fee on January 1st 2007.

Making 45 appearances for the Championship side over a 18 month stay, Roberts failed to ever cement his place in the side and as such he only scored two goals.

A return to Crewe on loan in January 2008 saw Roberts make four more appearances before he signed for Huddersfield last summer.

Since joining Town, he has made 37 appearances for the club, impressive considering he has been sent off twice, whilst he has scored ten important goals.

Wearing the number seventeen shirt for the Terriers, the 22-year old, born in Chester, is a key player for Town who will create plenty of chances on the wing and do a lot of running. He has lots of skill and an eye for goal, though he is prone to get a bit hot headed.

Around League One:

A win for Tranmere Rovers this weekend could see them in the play-offs by 5pm on Saturday evening, should results go their way.

Tranmere are just two points behind sixth placed Oldham, the team Tranmere face at Boundary Park next weekend, whilst they are level on points with eighth placed Stockport and one point behind seventh placed Scunthorpe, though The Iron do have a game in hand over Ronnie Moore's side.

Oldham face a tough trip to third placed MK Dons this weekend, a game that the Dons will be keen to win as they look to close the five point gap between themselves and second placed Peterborough, though Roberto Di Matteo's team do have three games in hand over the Posh.

Seventh placed Scunthorpe travel to struggling Carlisle United in what also promises to be a tricky test for Tranmere's promotion rivals, whilst eighth placed Stockport, who's goal difference is four better than Tranmere's, host struggling Leyton Orient.

At the top of the table, Leicester City, twelve points clear of second placed Peterborough, have a very tough game away to fourth placed Millwall, themselves just five points off second spot, whilst Peterborough entertain Northampton Town at London Road.

Fifth placed Leeds are back in the play-offs after a win on Tuesday night, and they host Swindon Town this weekend in what should be a home win for Simon Grayson's side.

At the foot of the table, 22nd placed Brighton, who appointed Russell Slade as their manager last week, have a hugely important game against Slade's former employers, Yeovil Town, at the Withdean Stadium.

Team News:

Despite returning for the reserves on Wednesday, this game has come too early for Craig Curran who is still lacking in match fitness, whilst Chris Greenacre will once again miss out with injury. Ian Moore could return from illness, but Ronnie Moore is expected to name the same side that beat Leicester City 2-0 midweek.

Jones' Prediction: Tranmere Rovers 2-0 Huddersfield Town

Tranmere will be hoping to complete the double over Huddersfield for the first time since the 2004/05 season this weekend, and we all know what happened during that season - Tranmere qualified for the play-offs having finished third in Coca Cola League One. So hopefully that is a good omen ahead of this game for Ronnie Moore's side.

The Terriers are not in good form ahead of this game and will be low on confidence, whilst for Tranmere team morale will be high after a fantastic 2-0 win over Leicester City on Wednesday.

Rovers played the run away league leaders off the park, giving them a footballing lesson, and if they play anything like that this Saturday then they will surely win.

The key for Rovers manager Ronnie Moore could be not to change a winning team. On Wednesday, Tranmere's defence was superb, limiting Leicester to only a handful of chances, whilst the midfield was also very strong, both central midfielders netting the Tranmere goals.

Upfront though Rovers were hugely impressive. Terry Gornell showed excellent vision and awareness, his first touch particularly impressive, whilst he chased every ball, always putting pressure on the defenders. Bas Savage was much improved from recent weeks too as he won the Tranmere penalty and set up Antony Kay's goal was a perfect lay off to the Tranmere captain.

Rovers need to keep that team, show confidence in them to go out and produce the same performance and result again.

Ronnie Moore's side were emphatic winners against Leicester City and with Tranmere's home form as it is, Huddersfield will probably come to Prenton Park looking for a draw. Rovers though need to attack the Terriers and get their shots away. They will wear their visitors down and a win shouldn't be too far away.

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