Tranmere Rovers vs. Millwall match preview

By Matthew Jones
Last updated : 14 February 2008
Another "Kay Special" would do nicely
Just four weeks after the sides last met, Millwall travel to Prenton Park this weekend looking for revenge after Tranmere's 1-0 smash and grab win at the New Den last month.

Ronnie Moore's side are now unbeaten in six and will be looking to stretch this run as they try and cement their place in the play-offs whilst Kenny Jackett's Millwall side will be looking for just their third away league win of the season.


Millwall team profile:

Formed: 1885

Ground: The New Den

Manager: Kenny Jackett

Nickname: The Lions

Season Finish 2005/06: 10th (Coca-Cola League One)

Previous Meetings:

It's just 28 days since Tranmere and Millwall last met, with Rovers travelling to London for their League One fixture against the Lions at the New Den on January 19th.

The match was a tight one, and it was Millwall who had the best chances in the first half, with Danny Coyne called into action on more than one occasion.

Rovers however did have the ball in the back of the net in the first 45 minutes, but Calvin Zola was judged to be in an offside position as he followed up Jennison Myrie-Williams' 20-yard effort which had initially been saved.

The second half was much the same, with Millwall applying most of the pressure and Coyne once again called into action on a number of occasions, as he and his defence managed to keep the ball out of the net.

It was however Tranmere who took the lead, much against the run of play, with 87-minutes on the clock. Substitute Mike Jones won a free-kick in the Millwall half which Paul McLaren swung into the penalty area. An unmarked Antony Kay rose highest and headed the ball into the bottom corner from near the penalty spot to hand Tranmere the lead.

Rovers hung on for the final three minutes to claim their first win of 2008 and since, Ronnie Moore's men haven't lost, picking up a further three wins and two draws.

Vital Stats:

Millwall have won just once in eleven visits to Prenton Park, with Tranmere picking up eight home wins

In their last seventeen games against Tranmere, Millwall have picked up just four wins

Rovers have scored 26 home goals against Millwall, whilst they have conceeded just 13

In 22 games at all venues between the two sides, Millwall have managed just five wins

Rovers are unbeaten against the Lions in February, with the solitary game on February 19th 1965 ending in a Tranmere home win


On This Day:

2000: Just days before the League Cup final against Leicester City, Tranmere are thrashed 4-0 away to Wolves

1994: Tranmere beat Aston Villa 3-1 at Prenton Park in a League Cup semi-final first leg

1957: Rovers are hammered 5-0 away by Barrow in Division Three North

On February 16th, Tranmere have played eleven previous fixtures, picking up three wins, five defeats and three draws. During these eleven games, Tranmere have scored 14 and conceeded 22 goals.

The Form Book:

Tranmere last 6 home games: DWWLDW
Millwall last 6 away games: LWLLDD

Millwall have been in appauling form away form home this season, as they have just two away league wins to their name this campaign. However, both of these have come in their last six away league games, so their form has improved slightly over recent weeks.

The Lions started their six match sequence with a 1-1 draw on New Years Day against Northampton, with a 90th minute equaliser from Alexander earning Millwall a point, before drawing 0-0 in the F.A. Cup third round at Walsall.

A 3-1 defeat against fellow League One strugglers Port Vale at Vale Park really dented survival hopes for Millwall fans, before Kenny Jackett's team were knocked out of the F.A. Cup at the fourth round stage by Championship side Coventry City, losing 2-1 at the Ricoh Arena.

The 2004 F.A. Cup finalists then picked up just their second away league win of the season as Alexander netted a 55th minute winner at Cheltenham to earn Millwall a 1-0 win before the Lions lost their last away game 2-0 at the City Ground as goals from Bennett and Chambers earned promotion hopefulls Nottingham Forest a 2-0 win.

Millwall's only other away league victory this season came at Brisbane Road where the Lions won 1-0 at the start of December, whilst the London team also won on the road at Alrincham, beating the non-League side 2-1 in the F.A. Cup first round.

This season, Millwall have picked up just ten of an available 42 points on the road, as just two away wins are accompanied by four draws and eight defeats from their 14 away league games.

Notable home results for Millwall include wins over Brighton and Hove Albion (2-0), Southend United (2-1) and Northampton Town (2-0).

Tranmere come into this fixture having lost just once in their last eight game on home soil, a run which has seen them climb back into contention for promotion to the Coca-Cola Championship.

Rovers started their six match sequence with a 1-0 home success over Cheltenham Town before twice coming from behind to draw 2-2 against League Two side Hereford United in the F.A. Cup third round.

A dismal performance against Bristol Rovers six days later then saw Tranmere slip to a 2-0 defeat on a Friday night at Prenton Park, before Rovers embarked on their current run at home.

Firstly, goals from Calvin Zola and Myrie-Williams secured Rovers a 2-1 win over Yeovil Town before three days later Tranmere beat struggling Gillingham 2-0 at Prenton Park.

In their most recent home game, Tranmere led 1-0 thanks to an early goal from Calvin Zola against Leyton Orient, but an equaliser from Chambers in the dying moments of the game earned Orient a 1-1 draw.

Other impressive results at Prenton Park for Tranmere include victories over Brighton and Hove Albion (2-0), Carlisle United (2-0) and Bournemouth (3-0).

From 16 home games this season, Tranmere have picked up 28 of an available 28 points thanks to eight wins, four draws and four defeats.

Notable away results for the Super Whites include wins against Leeds United (2-0), Millwall (1-0), Southend United (2-1) and Carlisle United (1-0).


Double Hit:

Former Bolton striker Scott Taylor, now with non-League outfit Grays Athletic, represented both Tranmere Rovers and Millwall in his career.

Taylor started his career with non-league Staines but in 1995 his professional career began as he moved to Millwall for £15,000.

However, after not scoring in 28 league games for the club and netting just two goals in four cup games, Taylor moved to Bolton for £150,000 in 1996.

Three goals in 17 games for Bolton as well as loan spells at Rotherham and later Blackpool completed a two-year stay at Bolton for Taylor, after which the striker joined John Aldridge at Tranmere for £350,000.

Taylor would remain with the Super Whites for nearly three seasons, with the highlight of his career coming as he reached two F.A. Cup Quarter Finals and the Worthington Cup Final with the club.

Indeed, Taylor wrongly had a goal dissallowed for offside in the final of the League Cup, a goal which would have given Rovers a 1-0 lead.

The striker left Tranmere for Stockport on a free-transfer in 2001 and a year later he rejoined Blackpool, this time on a permanent basis, again on a free transfer.

Whilst with the Tangerines, Taylor would enjoy the most prolific spell of his career. He netted 61 goals in 138 games durign a two-and-a-half year stay with Blackpool.

His form was in fact so good whilst at Bloomfield Road that in December 2004, he moved on to Plymouth for £100,000, but 18-months later, after scoring just five goals in 37 games for the Pilgrims, he was once again on the move in 2006, joining MK Dons for £100,000.

However, the striker continued to struggle for the MK Dons, netting just five goals in 55 games and therefore during 2007 he spent time on loan at both Brentford and Rochdale.

During the transfer window, the 31-year old joined non-League Grays Athletic on a free-transfer for whom he has played four times without scoring.

One to Watch: Jay Simpson

Left-winger Jay Simpson is an exciting, young, English talent, currently on loan at the New Den from Premier League side Arsenal.

Simpson, who won't be 20 until December, is a trainee at Arsenal but is yet to make an appearance for the club. However, it is believed that the Gunners manager Arsene Wenger still highly rates the Englishman.

Indeed, Simpson became the first player to score a hatrick at the Emirates Stadium as he netted three times in an F.A. Youth Cup win over Cardiff City for the Gunners during the 2006/07 season.

On August 31st, Simpson joined Millwall on loan and is set to stay with the London club until the end of the season. He made his debut during the 2-1 defeat to Huddersfield on September 1st before scoring in his next game, a 3-2 Football League Trophy defeat to Swansea.

Simpson has now made 30 appearances for Millwall this season and he has scored five goals. With bags of pace, the left-winger likes to run at defenders and get the ball into the box, either by crossing or by shooting.

The former England U-17 international wears the number 19 shirt for Millwall and, if it wasn't for a poor first touch, he would have seriously troubled Tranmere at the New Den earlier in the season.

Around League One:

As ever, there are some important fixtures in League One this weekend as the race for the play-offs continues to build up in what promises to be an exciting end to the season.

A point on Tuesday against Brighton for Tranmere saw them move two points ahead of seventh placed Leeds United and indeed a win for Tranmere on Saturday could move them up to fourth in the table. Millwall on the otherhand could slip into the relegation places should they lose to Tranmere and should Gillingham win away to Northampton Town.

Walsall, who are just one point ahead of Tranmere in fifth place, don't have a game this weekend due to the F.A. Cup, whilst Nottingham Forest, two places and two points above Tranmere, have a tough away trip to Swindon Town.

The biggest game of the day is at the Keepmoat Stadium where a Yorkshire derby between Doncaster Rovers and Leeds United is set to take place. The game, which kicks off at 12:00pm, could see Leeds move ahead of Tranmere, albeit briefly, if they win, whilst Doncaster could close the gap between themselves and Swansea to just five points.

League leaders Swansea travel to bottom club Port Vale, a game that they should win, although Vale did hold Carlisle United to a draw in midweek, whilst third placed Carlisle travel to struggling Crewe.

Leyton Orient have a chance of moving back into the play-offs this weekend and they take on cash-strapped Luton Town at Kenilworth Road whilst Bristol Rovers, who Tranmere play next weekend, do not have a League fixture due to their involvement in the F.A. Cup.


Team News:

Once again, Ronnie Moore could have a near full squad to chose from, with no new injuries hampering his preperation for this game. The only doubt for the Rovers manager is Calvin Zola, who didn't train on Thursday due to a groin injury picked up against Brighton. The only players out of this fixture are wingers Steve Davies and Chris Shuker, who both have long term knee injuries, meaning Moore could pick the same starting XI for the fourth match running.

Jones' Prediction: Tranmere Rovers 2-0 Millwall

Millwall have not travelled at all well this season, picking up just three away wins all season, with one of these coming against a non-league side in the F.A. Cup. Therefore, Ronnie Moore must see this as a game Tranmere have to win in order to cement their place in the play-offs and perhaps push up towards the automatic promotion places.

After scoring just one goal in their last two games, it's quite possible that Ronnie Moore will change things around up top for Tranmere, with Chris Greenacre biting at the heals of Ian Moore and Calvin Zola who have been starting up front for Rovers most recently.

Both strikers looked tired in the midweek draw with Brighton meaning either could give way to the season's leading scorer, whilst it's also a possibility that one of Myrie-Williams or Sherriff could give way to Greenacre, allowing Ian Moore to play on the wing as Tranmere go in search of a better final ball and more firepower in the final third.

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