Tranmere Rovers vs Huddesrfield Town match preview

Shuker to return for Rovers as Ronnie Moore sets sites on win
Friday Night Football returns to the Wirral this week as Rovers take on Huddersfield Town under the flood lights at Prenton Park.

Following a dissapointing result at the County Ground against Swindon Town last weekend, the game gives Rovers an opportunity to move back to the top of the League One table before all the teams above them play over the weekend.

Huddersfield Town team profile:

Formed: 1895

Ground: The Galpharm Stadium

Manager: Andy Ritchie

Nickname: The Terriers

Season Finish 2006/07: 15th (Coca-Cola League One)

Previous Meetings:

Last season when Tranmere and Huddersfield met, each team picked up two points as each fixture ended in a 2-2 draw, with Rovers leading in both games.

The first time the two teams met was at Prenton Park on September 26th. It was a game however that Rovers should comfortably have won. At half time, the home side were 2-0 up thanks to firstly a Calvin Zola header from a Shuker cross before Chris Greenacre doubled Rovers lead with a magnificent team goal, Shuker again the provider. Indeed, Tranmere should have been 3-0 up at the break but Greenacre dubiously had a goal ruled out for offside.

After the break, Huddersfield came at Tranmere and with Rovers looking like a completely different team, it wasn't long before Town were back in the game. Firstly, Gavin Ward dropped Young's cross, leaving Booth with the simple chance to make it 2-1 before, on 76-minutes, the Terriers made it 2-2, Gary Taylor-Fletcher this time netting past Ward after Rovers had failed to clear a cross.

On Boxing Day and back at the Galpharm Stadium, the result was the same but on this occassion both sides let a lead slip at some point in the match.

Huddersfield took the lead on nine minutes, Andy Booth again the scorer as he hit a magnificent 18-yard effort into the goal.

Rovers got back in it and then took the lead as Chris Greenacre scored six minutes before and after the interval, his first goal as header from Shukers cross from close range and his second an instinctive finish after Huddesrfield failed to clear Shuker's free-kick. On 60-minutes the game was levelled by Schofield from the penalty spot after Brandon was fouled in the box.

Vital Stats:

Rovers have scored at least two goals in all but one of their last eight games against Huddersfield

Huddersfield have won just three of 19 games against Rovers at Prenton Park, Tranmere have 12 wins to their name

Tranmere and Huddersfield have been in the same division for eleven out of the last twelve seasons, the only exclusion being the 2003/04 season when Town won promotion straight back to League One from League Two

Rovers are unbeaten in their last seven at home against Huddersfield

Huddersfield have scored just four goals in their last seven trips to the Wirral

On This Day:

2002: Rovers are hammered 4-0 away from home against Cardiff City, live on Sky TV

1999: Rovers lost 3-2 away to Charlton Athletic in Division One

1993: Tranmere beat Grimsby Town 4-1 at Prenton Park

Total Games Played: 15
Wins: 7
Draws: 3
Defeats: 5

The Form Book:

Tranmere last 6 home games: DDDWLW
Huddersfield last 6 away games: LLLLLW

It's not been the best start to the season for Huddersfield Town who currently lie in 16th place in Coca-Cola League One and haven't even scored in any of the last four away games, let alone won.

The season started well enough on the Road for Town, as they first won 1-0 away to Bournemouth thanks to a Luke Beckett goal before they then won 2-1 away to Millwall, this time with goals coming from Booth and Kamara.

Since however, The Terriers have endured a a terrible run of form on the road in the league, with four consecutive defeats and a terrible goal difference of -11.

First, Town lost 2-0 away to Crewe Alexandra before then losing 3-0 at the Sixfields Stadium to Northampton Town two weeks later. Another fortnight later and the goals weren't letting up as Huddersfield travelled to the Bescott Stadium and were hammered 4-0 by newly promoted Walsall before, in their most recent home game, Huddersfield lost 2-0 away to Doncaster Rovers at their new Keepmoat Stadium.

In the cup competitions, Andy Ritchie's side have suffered a further two defeats, as first Blackpool knocked Huddersfield out of the League Cup at the first hurdle with a 1-0 victory before the Terriers travelled to Grimsby for the Johnstone's Paints Trophy First Round and were hammered 4-1.

From a total of six league away games, Huddesrfield have managed six points from an available 18 with four defeats and two victories.

Notable home results for Town include a 1-0 win over Yeovil Town and a 2-0 win over Luton Town at the Galpharm Stadium.

For Tranmere Rovers it has been anything but plain sailing at Prenton Park this season, as they themselves have just two wins on home soil in the league and are indeed without victory in their last three home games.

Rovers started the campaign at home to Leeds United and despite leading the game 1-0 through a Chris Greenacre goal, two late strikes gave Leeds a much needed 2-1 win as they moved on to -12 points.

Tranmere are unbeaten at home since, in the league in any case, but it is certain they would have expected more points than they have picked up.

Firstly, Rovers defeat Brighton 2-0 thanks to goals from Greenacre and Shuker before Rovers then got two late goals from substitutes Craig Curran and Antony Kay to come from behind and win 2-1 over Luton.

Rovers have only had three draws and therefore three points in their three games since though as they have struggled to get the first goal in matches.

Firstly Northampton took a 2-0 lead at Rovers before goals from Shuker and Taylor made it 2-2 and then a few days later Rovers had to come from behind again as they drew 1-1 with Crewe.

In their most recent home game, Rovers only managed a 0-0 draw with Walsall whilst in the Johnstone's Paints Trophy First Round, Tranmere lost 1-0 to League Two side Morecambe.

From a total of six home league games this season, Tranmere have picked up nine points from an available 18 with three draws, two wins and a defeat.

Notable away results for Tranmere include wins over Southend United (2-1), Gillingham (2-0) and Carlisle United (1-0).

Double Hit:

Through the years, a great number of players have represented both Tranmere Rovers and Huddersfield Town, including Tranmere greats Steve Yates, Kenny Irons and Wayne Allison.

One other player who has represented both teams is midfielder Des Hamilton, who spent time on loan at Tranmere during the 2000/01 season.

Hamilton started his career at Bradford and after almost three full seasons as a professional with the club, he moved to Newcastle United for £1,500,000 in March 1997.

Hamilton rarely got a look in on the first team however with the Magpies, making just 18 appearances (and scoring once) in four years with the club.

It was whilst he was at Newcastle that Hamilton played for both Tranmere and Huddersfield as he spent time on loan at both clubs.

After a brief stay at Sheffield United in the middle of the 1998/99 season, Hamilton moved to The Terriers on loan for two months in February 1999. He played ten games and scored once for Town before his loan move expired and impressed the Huddersfield crowd with his performances.

After a spell at Norwich at the end of the 1999/2000 season, Hamilton spent two spells on loan at Rovers in the 2000/01 season, both of which were cut short by injury. On his first spell for the club, Hamilton had played two league games before being stretchered off in a League Cup tie against Leeds when Rovers were 2-0 down, a game Aldo's side went on to win 3-2 after extra time, before Hamilton returned in January of the same season.

It was a similar story though, as after six more appearances, and playing in Rovers 3-0 win over Everton in the F.A. Cup, Hamilton again went down injured and came off in Rovers 4-3 victory over Southampton in the F.A. Cup, and, you guessed it, Hamilton came off when Rovers were losing!

Hamilton was released by Newcastle at the end of the 2000/01 season and joined Cardiff where he 35 games in two seasons before joining Grimsby in 2003 where he made 31 appearances in one season for the club. After joining Barnet in 2004, Hamilton retired from football.

One To Watch: Andy Booth

There are few better finishers in Coca-Cola League One than Huddersfield striker Andy Booth, and despite only having scored one goal so far this season, Booth is a huge threat to any defence he plays against.

Starting his career as a trainee at Huddersfield and making his debut in the 1992/93 season, Booth quickly became a huge favourite with the Yorkshire clubs fans as he netted 63 league and cup goals for the club in 151 appearances.

His stay was never going to last long though in the good form he was enjoying, and in July 1996, he moved to then Premiership side Sheffield Wendesday as he looked to increase his profile, moving for £2,700,000.

Booth however struggled to find the net as regularly at the higher level and in almost five years with Wednesday, Booth managed just 34 goals in 154 games.

Whilst at Wednesday, Booth also spent time on loan at Tottenham Hotspurs, the only other club the six foot tall man has played for in his career. In just over two months with the club, Booth made four appearances but failed to score.

In March 2001, just before the closure of the transfer window, Booth made the ultimate homecoming as he returned to Huddersfield for a transfer fee of £200,000 and he has become a legend with the club ever since.

Indeed, on his comeback came for Town, who were now struggling towards the foot of Division One along with Tranmere Rovers, Booth scored one goal in a brilliant 4-1 win over Portsmouth.

Since his return, Booth has played an impressive 249 games in six and a half years and has netted 71 goals, taking his tally for Town to 134.

Now 33 with his 34th birthday fast approaching in December, Booth shows deadly accuracy in front of goal from both inside and outside the six yard box. He may have little pace, but he has great intelligence with and without the ball. He wears the number 23 shirt for Town and scored against Tranmere twice last season.

Around League One:

Yet again there are a number of tastey looking fixtures around Coca-Cola League One this weekend, with six teams still in with a chance of being top come Sunday.

Two of the biggest game in the league this weekend see Southend United take on Carlisle United at Roots Hall and Yeovil Town take on Swansea City at Huish Park.

Swansea haven't played a league game for two weeks now after their game against Hartlepool was postponed last weekend and they will be looking to push back on towards the top of the table from fifth place where they lie three points off the lead, level with Tranmere but ahead of the Wirral club on goal-difference.

Yeovil Town meanwhile lie in eighth place on 18 points, just two points behind Tranmere who occupy the final play-off place. They will be hoping that they can push back into the play-offs after a few weeks absense and a 1-1 draw away at Bristol Rovers last weekend.

Southend meanwhile with on-loan streiker Leon Clarke upfront are becoming a formidable opposition this season. Clarke has scored in all but one of his eight games for the Shrimpers this season as he only failed to score against Tranmere and with Southend currently lying in second place in Coca-Cola League One, he will be hoping to move them ahead of Leyton Orient to the top position this weekend.

Their opponents, Carlisle, lie third place in league one, meaning, not for the first time this season, it's a second vs. third place battle at Roots Hall on Saturday afternoon, coming after both sides won 2-0 last weekend.

Top club Leyton Orient don't play until Sunday as they face out of form Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium live on television. Orient, who could have slipped as low as sixth place before they play, will be looking to beat Rovers who managed a 0-0 draw with Nottingham Forest last weekend.

Elsewhere, Leeds United are at home to managerless Millwall whilst Nottingham Forest, now in fourth place in Coca-Cola League One but level on points with Tranmere and Swansea, make the journey south to take on Luton Town.

At the other end of the table, struggling Cheltenham, in twenty-second place and on nine points, take on Crewe Alexandra who themselves are only two points above the relegation zone on thirteen points at Whaddon Road whilst Gillingham in 21st place and on eleven points take on Bristol Rovers at the Priestfield Stadium.

Team News:

Ronnie Moore is expected to have Chris Shuker available for selection once again after the winger missed last Saturdays defeat to Swindon with a thigh strain. Adnan Ahmed is expected to return from international duty with Pakistan whilst John Mullin (ankle) and Steve Davies (knee) are still out injured.

Jones' Prediction: Tranmere 3-0 Huddersfield