Tranmere Rovers vs. Leicester City match preview

Savage looking to score again against Leicester this week
Tranmere Rovers take on Leicester City in Coca Cola League One this Wednesday evening as they look to keep up the pressure on the top six with the play-off race now hotting up.

The game, moved to a Wednesday night due to Liverpool hosting Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday night at Anfield, is the start of a key run of four games in eleven days for Tranmere, who also take on in form Huddersfield and play-off chasing Oldham as they look to move into a play off spot.

Leicester City team profile:

Formed: 1884

Ground: The Walkers Stadium

Manager: Nigel Pearson

Nickname: The Foxes

Season Finish 2006/07: 22nd (Coca-Cola Championship)

Previous Meetings:

Tranmere and Leicester met way back in August in Coca Cola League One at the Walkers Stadium, with Ronnie Moore's side slipping to a somewhat undeserved as well as disappointing 3-1 defeat.

The Foxes continued their unbeaten start to the season in front of nearly 18,000 fans, most of whom went home happy following their teams win.

Tranmere dominated much of the first half, with the now departed George O'Callaghan particularly effective in central midfield, though Rovers failed to create many meaningful chances.

And, as is the Tranmere way, despite shading the match they slipped behind on 33 minutes when former Luton striker Steve Howard prodded home Matt Oakley's cross after Lloyd Dyer's contentious quick free-kick.

Seven minutes after half time, Leicester doubled their advantage when Fryatt jumped highest to head home a free-kick by Max-Alain Gradel, a player who tormented Tranmere whilst on loan at Bournemouth last season.

Late on, Tranmere came back into the game, and after Shuker and Kay had both had goalbound shots saved, Rovers halved their defecit with ten minutes left on the clock as Shuker vollied home at the back post after superb work down the right by Chris Greenacre.

Rovers' revival wasn't too last though, as Fryatt headed home over the helpless Danny Coyne after a prolonged spell of penalty area head tennis.

Vital Stats:

Tranmere have won just one of their last seven games against Leicester City

Rovers played in their only ever major cup final against the Foxes in 2000, when Leicester beat Tranmere 2-1 at Wembley in the League Cup Final

Before this season, the league meetings between these two sides had come only in the second tier of English football

In six home games against Leicester City, Tranmere have picked up just one win, losing on three occasions

In the thirteen matches between these two sides, there have been just five clean sheets

On This Day:

2008: An injury time equaliser from Chris Greenacre keeps Tranmere's play-off hopes alive as they draw 1-1 at Swansea City

2006: Tranmere thump Chesterfield 4-1 at Prenton Park, with Sam Aiston scoring twice for Brian Little's side

2001: John Aldridge's Tranmere suffer a 4-2 defeat at Prenton Park against Liverpool in their F.A. Cup Quarter Final tie, with Steve Yates and Wayne Allison scoring for Tranmere

Tranmere Rovers have played eighteen previous fixtures on this day, picking up eight wins, three draws and seven defeats. In these eighteen games they have scored 30 goals and conceded 25.

The Form Book:

Tranmere last six home games: WDDDWW
Leicester last six away games: DWDWWW

Tranmere Rovers come into this match in excellent form at Prenton Park, having not lost any of their last 13 home league matches, a run which has seen them pick up nine wins.

Rovers started their six match sequence with an excellent 4-1 win over Carlisle United at Prenton Park, as after a drab first half Tranmere came out for the second period and played their opponents of the park, before three days later Ronnie Moore's side were on home soil again as they this time took on Stockport County and beat the Hatters 2-1, Gareth Edds and Ian Moore getting the goals in a scoreline that flattered the visiters.

After six consecutive home wins, Tranmere then picked up a disappointing 0-0 draw with struggling Leyton Orient in their next home match, before picking up a second successive draw against Peterborough United.

Tranmere then drew for the third successive home game against high flying MK Dons, though they did it the hard way as Terry Gornell scored a late equaliser for Rovers, his first for the club, before in Tranmere's next home game they beat Swindon Town 1-0 thanks to a superb Antony Kay goal.

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 eighteen home league games so far this season, picking up 37 of an available 54 points at Prenton Park, thanks to eleven 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 53 of an available 115 points, thanks to fifteen wins, eight draws and twelve defeats.

This season, Leicester City have, by a country mile, been the best team in League One, picking up an incredible 22 wins from their 36 matches so far as they top the table by twelve points.

Their away form has been excellent, to go with their outstanding home record, with the club not only having the best home record in League One, but also being the best team on their travels in the division too.

The Foxes come to Prenton Park unbeaten in their last ten away league matches, a run the stretches back to October 28th, when they lost 3-2 against Brighton. This was also their last defeat in the league though, a run lasting 22 matches.

They started their six match sequence with an impressive 2-0 win at Yeovil Town thanks to second half strikes from Howard and Mattock, before nearly two weeks later the Foxes scraped past Northampton Town with a 2-1 win at Sixfields.

A 4-1 drubbing of Walsall followed three days later, Fryatt, King, Cleverley and Howard on target for City, before Howard twice put Leicester ahead against Hartlepool, though they were twice pegged back as the game ended 0-0.

Matty Fryatt then second the only goal in a 1-0 win over Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Ground on February 21st, before in their most recent away game, Leicester drew 2-2 with MK Dons, Max-Alain Gradel equalising for the Foxes late into injury time.

Other impressive away results for Leicester City this season include wins over Cheltenham Town (4-0), Huddersfield Town (3-2), Scunthorpe United (2-1) and Carlisle United (2-1).

Leicester City have played seventeen away games so far this season, picking up 36 of an available 51 points thanks to ten wins, six draws and one defeat.

Notable results at the Walkers Stadium for the Foxes this season include wins over Tranmere (3-1), Cheltenham Town (4-0), MK Dons (2-0) and Peterborough United (4-0).

The Foxes come into this game flying high in first place in League One, twelve points clear of second placed Peterborough United with the title looking all but won. They have played 36 games so far this season and picked up 78 of an available 118 points thanks to 22 wins, twelve draws and two defeats.

Double Hit:

Barnsley striker Iain Hume started his playing career with Tranmere Rovers before earning a move to Leicester City whilst the club were still in the Coca-Cola Championship.

Canadian international Hume, born in Edinburgh, was picked up by Tranmere when on a tour of England with a Canadian school boys team.

Quickly signed up, Hume made his debut for the Wirral side at the age of 16 and went on to become a huge fan favourite over the next six years at Prenton Park.

Despite making his break through into the first team under John Aldridge, it wasn't until Ray Mathias took charge of Tranmere in 2002 that Hume really began to make a name for himself.

Firstly a winger, Hume was converted into a striker by Mathias with a huge amount of success. Brian Little soon profitted from Mathias' move as Hume, along with another young prospect, Ryan Taylor, became the central figures of the Tranmere team that finished third in League One during the 2004/05 season.

Over six years with the club, Hume made 174 apearances for Tranmere and scored 37 goals, several of which were stunning efforts, including a 30-yard effort at the Reebok Stadium that earned Tranmere a 2-1 win over Premier League side Bolton in the F.A. Cup.

On August 31st 2005, Hume left Tranmere as he was signed by Leicester City for a fee of £500,000. Again, at Leicester, Hume was a fan favourite.

He stayed at the Walkers Stadium for three seasons and made 132 appearances for the Foxes, scoring 34 goals.

However, following Leicester's relegation to League One in 2008, Hume was on the move again as he signed for Yorkshire club Barnsley for £1,200,000.

After a good start at Barnsley, with Hume scoring four goals in sixteen games, he suffered a horrific skull injury after a disgusting tackle from Sheffield United captain Chris Morgan.

The injury, sustained on November 8th, was a fractured skull and was a serious threat to Hume's life. He has however recovered and is now on the mend, though he is yet to make his return to action. We'd like to wish Iain all the best on his recovery.

One To Watch: Matty Fryatt

Former Walsall striker Matty Fryatt is League One's top scorer so far this campaign with a hugely impressive 28 goals in all competitions.

23 year old Fryatt started his career at the Bescott Stadium with Walsall where he forged a reputation as a very good lower league goalscorer.

Making his debut for the club during the 2002/03 season, Fryatt also spent time out on loan during the 2003/04 season at Carlisle United, making ten appearances and scoring once for the Brunton Park side.

Fryatt left Walsall in January 2006, having made 78 appearances for the club and scored 30 goals, 29 of which came in his last one and a half seasons with the club!

Joining Leicester for an undisclosed fee, Fryatt struggled for form at first, especially last season as Leicester got relegated from the Coca Cola Championship.

This season though, the black haired striker has been a revelation for the Foxes, topping the scoring charts and tormenting many a defence.

He has scored 41 goals for Leicester City, 28 of which have come this season, whilst he has made a total of 130 appearances for the club.

Wearing the number 12 shirt for Leicester, Fryatt is a hard working striker with a natural instinct to poach goals, both with his feet and head, from inside the penalty area.

Around League One:

Tranmere's fixture against Leicester City is the only match taking place on Wednesday night in League One, with the other matches all being played on Tuesday night.

There are, though, as ever, some big fixtures in League One this week as the season approaches it's exciting climax.

Tranmere can move up to seventh in the table if results go their way, but that requires Leeds to lose their home match against Yeovil, with the seventh placed side three points above Tranemre, whilst Stockport, level on points with Rovers, must get no more than a point, should Tranmere win, in their home match against Hartlepool.

Second placed Peterborough host sixth placed Scunthorpe, who are just four points above Tranmere as they occupy the final play-off place, whilst third placed MK Dons, now three points behind Peterborough and fifteen behind table topping Leicester City, host inform Huddersfield Town, Tranmere's opponents on Saturday.

Fifth placed Oldham do not have a fixtures this week, though fourth placed Millwall do as they take on Northampton at the New Den.

Team News:

Tranmere Rovers are once again without striker Chris Greenacre who still has a foot injury, whilst this game has come just too early for striker Craig Curran. Terry Gornell should have recovered from Stomach cramps in time to take a place in the Tranmere sixteen, whilst Bas Savage played without reaction to his injury against Northampton on Saturday. Danny Coyne is expected to miss out again through injury, meaning John Achterberg will continue in goal, whilst Danny Mayor will make his home debut after joining on loan from Preston last week.

Jones' Prediction: Tranmere Rovers 2-1 Leicester City

This will be a very tight fixture as both sides come into this game with some form behind them; Tranmere unbeaten in thirteen home league games and Leicester unbeaten in 23. However, records are there to be broken and I expect one of them to go in this fixture.

Tranmere will come into this game with plenty of motivation as they know that a win in this game would not only be a huge confidence boost but would sent out a message to the rest of League One too.

They're in strong form at Prenton Park and with Bas Savage now apparently back in goalscoring form, Rovers could well begin to start getting some more goals.

The home crowd will most definately be getting behind Tranmere tomorrow as they look to spur their team forward towards a win, just as they have in recent weeks, and this should have a positive effect on Tranmere.

Of course though the game will be won on the pitch, and it won't be easy for either team. Tranmere's Ben Chorley and Ian Goodison will need to be in fine form to keep striker Matty Fryatt quiet, whilst Steven Jennings and Antony Kay in midfield must work very hard to support both defence and attack.

The key though for Tranmere could lie on the wings, where in form Charlie Barnett and on-loan Danny Mayor will need to put plenty of crosses into the box in order to give strikers Ian Moore and Bas Savage the service required to score.