Tranmere Rovers vs. Leyton Orient match preview

Ian Moore hoping to continue his good goalscoring form at Prenton Park
After both Tranmere and Leyton Orient had their midweek games postponed due to the cold weather, both sides will be hoping they can be back in action at Prenton Park this weekend, when the two sides meet on Merseyside.

Tranmere go into the game hoping to pick up their seventh straight league win on home soil whilst Orient, under new boss Geraint Williams, the former Colchester manager, will be hoping they can turn around their poor away form and push away from the danger of the relegation zone.


Leyton Orient team profile:

Formed: 1881

Ground: Brisbane Road

Manager: Geraint Williams

Nickname: The O's

Season Finish 2006/07: 14th (Coca-Cola League One)

Previous Meetings:

Tranmere travelled to Brisbane Road in mid-October and picked up an impressive 1-0 win to extend their run of unbeaten matches on the road to five.

Lining up with a 4-5-1 formation, Tranmere took the lead after 39 minutes in what was a dismal first half, with Chris Shuker handing Rovers the lead as he vollied home with the outside of his right-foot from 22-yards.

It was nothing more than Tranmere deserved though, with Ronnie Moore's side easily being the better of the two sides as Antony Kay and Steven Jennings came close before Rovers took the lead.

Shotton came close just before the interval but there were to be no further goals in the match as Tranmere played out for a handy three points.

The closest Orient came to equalising was in the final quarter of the match when Body somehow missed from four yards and shortly afterwards Coyne made a terrific save from Dawkins.

Ronnie Moore's side though clung on for their win, a result which was their most recent away win, with twelve matches played since on the road.

Vital Stats:

In twelve home matches against Leyton Orient, Tranmere have picked up seven wins and three draws

Tranmere have won four of their last five home games against Orient 3-0

Rovers have played Orient in February three times before and picked up just one point, this coming in a 1-1 draw against the O's last season

Should Tranmere win on Saturday, it would extend their run of consecutive home league wins to seven, their best run at Prenton Park since the 1994/95 season

Tranmere have scored 25 goals in twelve home games against Orient, compared to the Londoners scoring just eleven times

On This Day:

2004: Iain Hume scores a late equaliser for Tranmere as they draw 1-1 with Blackpool at Prenton Park

1998: John Aldridge's Tranmere beat Reading 3-1in Division One

1997: A year previous though, Tranmere lost by the same scoreline to Charlton Athletic at the Valley, again in Division One

Tranmere Rovers have played ten previous fixtures on February 7th, picking up three wins, three draws and four defeats. In these ten fixtures, they have scored eleven goals and conceded seventeen.


The Form Book:

Tranmere last six home games: WWWWLW
Leyton Orient last six away games: WLLLDD

Tranmere's home form this season has been stunning, with Ronnie Moore's side having the second best home record in League One, second only to table topping and high flying Leicester City.

Ronnie Moore's side started their six match sequence with an impressive 2-1 win over Leeds United, as goals from Kay and Moore brought Rovers from behind to win the game, but only a few days later it was Tranmere on the wrong end of a comeback, as after leading 1-0 in their F.A. Cup Second Round replay with Peterborough, Rovers conceded an injury time equaliser and then slipped to an extra time 2-1 defeat against the Posh.

Since though, Tranmere have won four consecutive matches at Prenton Park, form that is key to their promotion bid, especially when taking into consideration their abysmal away form.

Rovers beat Brighton 1-0 in their next home game thanks to a 90th minute strike from Antony Kay, before eight days later Kay again scored an injury time winner as Rovers beat Walsall 2-1 on the Wirral.

It was nearly a month before Tranmere's next home game but they continued their good form on home soil, firstly handing out a footballing lesson to Carlisle United who Rovers beat 4-1, before Ronnie Moore's side did similar to Stockport County, who they beat 2-1, although that scoreline flattered the Hatters.

Other notable home results for Tranmere this season include defeats of Hartlepool United (1-0), Northampton Town (4-1), Scunthorpe United (2-0) and Crewe Alexandra (2-0).

Tranmere have played fourteen home league games so far this season, picking up 31 points from an available 42, thanks to ten wins, a draw and three defeats. They have also won four out of five home cup matches.

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

Rovers come into this game in tenth place in the League One table, having picked up 43 an available 81 points in their 27 games, thanks to thirteen wins, four draws and nine defeats.

Leyton Orient come into this fixture with a better away record than home record this season, although having only won two home league fixtures all season, it's not hard to have a better away record!

That said though, Orient's record away from Brisbane Road has hardly been sparkling and that is why they come to Prenton Park in 21st place in the League One table, despite having played more games than any other team in the bottom half of the table.

The O's started their six match sequence with consecutive draws, firstly away at Northampton Town before a 72nd minute strike from young winger Demetriou earned Orient a 1-1 draw with play-off contenders Oldham.

However, Orient then failed to score in their next two away games as they slipped to consecutive defeats, firstly losing 1-0 at Colchester United, before Leicester City beat the Londoners 3-0 thirteen days later.

A 2-1 defeat at Scunthorpe was a third consecutive defeat on the road for Orient and a result that made it just one win in ten matches, a run that eventually led to the sacking of previous manager Martin Ling, who had been in charge at Brisbane Road for five years.

However, Orient proved their worth in their next outing as they shocked MK Dons with a 2-1 win last week at Stadium:MK, Morgan and Purches scoring for the O's.

Leyton Orient still come into this game in dire trouble though, having won just one of their last eleven league games at all venues.

Other notable results away from Brisbane Road for Orient this season include wins against Walsall (2-0), Crewe (2-0) and Huddersfield (1-0), as well as a Johnstone's Paints Trophy win over Southend (4-2).

From fifteen away games this season, Orient have picked up sixteen of an available 45 points, this thanks to four wins, four draws and seven defeats.

They have won only two home league games this season, these against Hereford United (2-1) and Hartlepool United (1-0).

Leyton Orient come into this game in 21st place in the league table having played 29 matches so far. They have picked up 26 of an available 87 points thanks to six wins, eight draws and fifteen defeats.

Double Hit:

There is currently one player on the books at Leyton Orient who was once a Tranmere player and who, since leaving the club, has felt nothing but hatred from the Tranmere fans.

Irish midfielder Sean Thornton started his career at Prenton Park, coming through the youth ranks at the Ingleborough training ground and breaking into the first team under manager Dave Watson during the 2001/02 season.

An impressive talent, Thornton scored once in thirteen appearances for Tranmere before controversially leaving the club for Sunderland.

The player illegally left Rovers, as he firstly illegally trained with Sunderland, despite not having Tranmere's permission to do so as he was still in contract with the Wirral club, before signing a contract with Sunderland.

During his absense from the Tranmere training ground, he said he was back home in Ireland, caring for an ill member of his family.

After leaving Tranmere, Thornton's career has fallen away somewhat. Brilliant highs, such as helping Sunderland to the Premier League and his wonder strike for Doncaster against Aston Villa in a League Cup match on Sky television, have been out numbered by many lows and bad points in his career.

A poor attitude and bad drinking habits have resulted in Thornton never realising just what potential he has, and as such, he has never lasted more than three years at a club.

Playing 64 games for Sunderland, 26 of these as a substitute, and spending time out on loan at Blackpool during his time at the Stadium of Light, Thornton was sold to Doncaster in 2005 for £175,000.

After two years with the Yorkshire club, in which time Thornton played at Prenton Park for the first time since leaving Tranmere, and made 77 appearances, scoring four goals, the midfielder was on the move again, this time joining Leyton Orient on a free transfer.

Thornton enjoyed a good first season with the O's, scoring against Tranmere at Brisbane Road as he made 34 appearances and scored three goals.

However, he couldn't break into the team at the start of this season, making just three appearances before joining Shrewsbury on a month long loan deal in September.

The twenty-five year old impressed whilst at Shrewsbury, scoring once in six games for the club, but the failure to agree an extention to his stay at Shrewsbury resulted in a return to Orient this week and, as such, he is in contention to play against Tranmere this weekend.

Since returning to Brisbane Road, Thornton has added a further sixteen appearances to his Leyton Orient career tally and was sent off against Bristol Rovers in late December.

A player who just appears to crave attention, from the fans and media, Thornton has undoubted ability, but he has never been able to fulfill that ability, and as such it appears that he will be a League One player or below for most of his career.

One To Watch: Jason Demetriou

Many may look at striker Adam Boyd as the central and key figure for Leyton Orient, but young winger Jason Demetriou is also an integral player for the London side.

A tricky winger, Demetriou came through the youth ranks at Brisbane Road and signed his first professional contract for the club in July 2006.

Since, he has gone on to secure himself a place in the side as well as attracting the attention of a number of higher ranked League One and Championship clubs.

Making his debut against Yeovil in October 2005 at the age of only seventeen, Demetriou has now made an impressive 117 appearances for the club, scoring ten goals in the process, one of which was a well taken goal against Tranmere at Brisbane Road last season.

The winger has bags of place and plenty of skill and trickery, whilst he vision is a key element to his game, making him an important player for the O's.

Aged 21, Demetriou, who was recently called up to the Cyprus squad for the first time, is 5'11 and wears the number 20 shirt for Orient.

Around League One:

At the time of writing, two games are already off in League One, one of which is Huddersfield's trip to Bristol Rovers, meaning Tranmere need just a draw to move above the Yorkshire side.

The other postponed fixture at this point is Brighton's away trip to Hereford United, although other games are expected to be postponed too, especially in the south.

Games still on include Leicester City's big home match against Oldham Athletic. Tranmere will be hoping that Leicester, ten points clear at the top of League One, can beat sixth placed Oldham, as a win for Rovers would then put them just three points behind The Latics with two games in hand.

Second placed MK Dons host struggling Crewe as they look to close the gap between themselves and Leicester, whilst third placed Scunthorpe, who host bottom of the table Cheltenham, are now four points behind the Dons.

Fourth placed Peterborough and fifth placed Millwall are level on fifty points, and each have tough fixtures this week. Peterborough host Carlisle on Saturday, whilst on Monday evening Millwall travel to seventh placed Leeds United, with a draw being the best result for Tranmere there.

Rovers themselves could be seventh and just three points off the play-offs by 5pm on Saturday should results go their way, with a win taking them above Stockport, should the Hatters fail to get more than a point in their away trip to Colchester, who Tranmere face on Tuesday night.


Team News:

Tranmere manager Ronnie Moore has a number of injury concerns, yet again, ahead of this fixture, with three strikers once again on the sidelines for his side. Craig Curran requires further attention to a stomach injury and will be out for six more weeks whilst Chris Greenacre and Terry Gornell are also out injured. Joining them on the sidelines this week was defender Ian Goodison who will be out for at least four weeks with an ankle injury picked up at Crewe last Saturday.


Jones' Prediction: Tranmere Rovers 3-0 Leyton Orient

Despite their shocking away form this season, Tranmere's record on home soil has been superb and there is no reason not to expect them to pick up another three points at Prenton Park this Saturday.

In their last two home games, against Carlisle and Stockport, Tranmere have been stunning. They have got the ball down and passed it a round brilliantly, so much so that they have completely dominated the possession counter and won both games quite comfortably.

Goals have finally been going in for Ronnie Moore's side, whilst their defence continues to be strong, with only seven sides in League One have conceded less than Tranmere at home this season. On the other hand, only four sides have scored more goals in home games than Tranmere, showing just how good Rovers' home record is.

If Tranmere play anything like they did against Carlisle and Stockport this Saturday, then they will be far too strong for Orient and will be expected to win and win comfortably.

The only change Tranmere will be forced to make is leaving out the injured Ian Goodison, who is expected to be replaced by Gareth Edds in the starting line up, a player who scored in both of Tranmere's last two home matches.

Rovers need to pass the ball around and take the game to Orient, but they also need to be patient, as they know the goals will come if they keep creating chances.