Tranmere Rovers vs. Morecambe match preview

Rovers looking for another Football League Trophy win
This Tuesday evening, Tranmere Rovers take on League Two side Morecambe in the Northern section of the Johnstone's Paints Trophy for the second year running.

Both sides will be looking to book their place in the semi-final of the competition, with the winner going one game closer to that illustrious trip to Wembley for the national final against the Southern Section winners.

Morecambe team profile:

Formed: 1920

Ground: Christie Park

Manager: Sammy McIlroy

Nickname: The Shrimps

Season Finish 2006/07: 11th (Coca-Cola League Two)

Previous Meetings:

Despite numerous meetings in pre-season friendly matches through the years, there has only been one previous competative fixture between these two sides.

That came last season, again in the Johnstone's Paints Trophy, when Morecambe travelled to Prenton Park and picked up a 1-0 win as they continued their cup heroics for the season.

The fixture was a first round match in the trophy and it very much lived up to expectations before hand, as Tranmere turned in a drab performance during the defeat.

Despite a strong starting eleven, including the likes of Greenacre, Curran, Davies, Kay, Shuker and Jennings, Rovers were poor and thoroughly deserved their defeat that came courtesy of a strike from Jamie Burns, who smashed the ball into the back of the net from inside the area after recieving Paul Lloyd's pass.

The result was justified. Achterberg throughout the match was by far the busier of the two keepers, making a number of important and impressive saves to keep Tranmere in the game, whilst at the other end chances for Rovers were few and far between.

Vital Stats:

With just one previous competative game between the two sides, Morecambe come to Prenton Park with a 100% record against Tranmere

Under Ronnie Moore, Tranmere have never got passed the third round of a cup competition

Of the thirteen Tranmere players who played in the fixture against Morecambe exactly fourteen months ago, seven will not be on the field for Rovers this time round due to injury or no longer being at the club

Tranmere's best run in this competition saw them crowned winners at Wembley in 1990, whilst they were also runners up a year later

Morecambe's best run in the Football League Trophy saw them reach the Northern Area final last season, where they were knocked out 1-0 over two legs by Grimsby Town

On This Day:

2000: Rovers lose 1-0 away to Norwich City in the season they got relegated from Division One

1997: Tranmere record a 1-0 home win over Huddersfield Town in Division One

1995: John King's Tranmere hammer Derby County 5-1 at Prenton Park

On November 4th, Tranmere have played a total of fourteen previous matches, picking up six wins, two draws and six defeats. Whilst conceding twenty-two goals, they have scored an impressive twenty-five in these fourteen fixtures.

The Form Book:

Tranmere last 6 home games: WWLWLL
Morecambe last 6 away games: LLLDDD

This season, Tranmere's home form has been somewhat dissapointing, with Rovers losing far too many of their league matches at Prenton Park this season.

Their six match sequence started with a controversial 1-0 defeat to Oldham Athletic, a game that Rovers didn't deserve to lose and had a perfectly legal goal dissallowed, before Ronnie Moore's side lost 4-3 in a thoroughly exciting game against Colchester United.

Tranmere then beat Crewe 1-0 in the Johnstone's Paints Trophy thanks to a goal from Chris Shuker, before losing 3-1 in the league a handful of days later against high-flying Millwall, with Tranmere throwing in a terrible performance on their way to defeat.

Since though, Tranmere have picked up consecutive 2-0 victories. Firstly, Rovers beat Cheltenham Town thanks to goals from Tony Kay and Bas Savage before strikes from Steve Jennings and Chris Shuker were enough to see off Crewe, this time in the league, by the same scoreline.

Other notable home results for Tranmere this season include wins over Hartlepool United (1-0) and Northampton Town (4-1).

Tranmere have so far played nine home games this season, with six wins and three defeats. In the league, they have picked up a total of twelve points form an available twenty-one thanks to four wins and three defeats.

Impressive away successes for Rovers include excellent wins away to Huddersfield Town (2-1), Carlisle United (2-1) and Leyton Orient (1-0).

After Saturday's 1-0 defeat at MK Dons, Tranmere are eleventh in the League One table with twenty-three points from their opening fifteen games.

Away from home this season, Morecambe have been nothing short of shocking, with the Shrimps not picking up a win in normal time in any away match so far this season.

Their six match sequence has seen them draw three consecutive matches, starting against Barnet and then against Lincoln City two weeks later, with both matches ending 1-1.

They then drew their Football League Trophy second round match against Chester City, 1-1, although Morecambe won the match on penalties, before losing their first of three consecutive away games against Gillingham, a match than ended 5-0.

Morecambe then lost 3-1 against Brentford, despite leading the game thanks to a fifth minute strike from Drummond, before losing 2-1 against Port Vale.

The Shrimps have played ten away games so far this season, earning five draws and five defeats. In the league, they played pick up just three points from a possible twenty-one in their seven away games, thanks to three draws and four defeats.

At home, notable results for the Shrimps include their only two wins of the season so far, these against Aldershot (2-0) and Shrewsbury Town (1-0).

Sammy McIlroy's side come into this game in seventeenth place in League Two after fifteen games so far this season, having picked up thirteen points from an available fourty-five.

Tranmere's run to the Johnstone's Paints Trophy Northern area quarter final is thanks to wins over Accrington Stanley (1-0) and Crewe Alexandra (1-0), with both games being played at Prenton Park, whilst Morecambe reached this stage of the competition thanks to a wins away to Oldham and Chester, both on penalties after both matches had finished 1-1 after 90 minutes.

Double Hit:

Tranmere hero Steve Yates played for both clubs during the early 2000s, having represented the likes of Sheffield United and Huddersfield Town earlier in his career.

"Sir" Steve Yates started his career with Bristol Rovers and made his debut for the club in 1988 after being a trainee for two years.

The defender, who could player all across the backline, made 197 appearances for the Pirates between 1988 and 1993 but failed to score for the club.

In 1993, he moved on to Queens Park Rangers, then a Premiership club and managed by Gerry Francis and he shortly made his debut against Liverpool.

Yates was to stay with QPR for six years as he made 135 appearances and scored twice for the club before joining Tranmere on a free-transfer in the summer of 1999.

Yates was made club captain by manager John Aldridge and would go on to become a terrace legend with the club, based on just one game.

The defender made 113 appearances for Tranmere and scored seven goals as he played in two F.A. Cup Quarter Finals and the Worthington Cup final for the club in 2000 and 2001.

His most famous moment without doubt came on January 27th 2001 in an F.A. Cup Fourth Round match against Everton for Tranmere Rovers.

Tranmere won the game 3-0 at Goodison Park, with Yates, playing at left-back due to the absense of Gareth Roberts, scoring two headers, one in either half to help John Aldridges' side to win the game. The day was shortly nicknamed "St. Yates" day by Tranmere fans.

In the same F.A. Cup run, Yates also netted goals against Portsmouth in a third round 2-1 win and Liverpool in a 4-2 defeat at Prenton Park in the Quarter Final.

In 2002, following Tranmere's relegation to Division Two the previous season, Dave Watson decided not to offer Yates a new contract and he moved on to Sheffield United where he would play for a season before joining Huddersfield in 2003.

Yates stayed with the Terriers until 2006, playing 51 times before having spells with non-league sides Scarborough and Halifax.

His final club was Morecambe, whom he joined in 2006 in time for the start of the new season. Yates was a revelation at Morecambe as he made 44 appearances for the club and scored twice, helping them up into the Football League, via the play-offs, for the first time.

This turned out to be Yates' final season as a player in professional football, as following that successful season and a hugely successful career, Yates retired ages 37.

One To Watch: Rene Howe

Striker Rene Howe is a man who has played in a League Two play-off final, having spent much of last season on loan with Rochdale from parent club Peterborough.

Howe started his career with Kettering before signing for Peterborough in July 2007 for an undisclosed fee.

However, the striker failed to really get much of a look in with the Posh, and spent five months of the 2007/08 season on loan at Spotland with Rochdale, who had their most successful season for a number of years as they reached the play-off final at Wembley, the clubs first ever trip to the National stadium.

Howe joined Rochdale in January 2008 and went on to make twenty-three appearances for the Lancashire club, scoring nine goals in the process, before returning to Peterborough last summer.

For the start of this season, Howe joined Morecambe on loan, where he remains today. He has made eighteen appearances for the club and scored four goals, although Morecambe have only won one of the games he has scored in (in normal time).

A battering ram type striker, Howe is the Morecambe number ten and stands at six foot tall. He may not be quick, but he has a lot of strength and is good in the air.

The Football League Trophy:

In the Northern Section of the draw, the most exciting of the other Quarter Final matches sees Rotherham United host Leicester City.

Rotherham have already knocked out Southampton in the Carling Cup this season and they will be desperate to beat Leicester as the League Two side look to progress as far as they can in the tournament in attempt to get some much needed cash.

Elsewhere, high-flying Scunthorpe United face last seasons League Two beaten play-off finalists Rochdale, who have recently found some form in League Two and put six past Chester only a couple of weeks ago.

The other fixture is in he North East where Darlington host Bury in an all League Two clash, whilst in the Southern Section of the trophy AFC Bournemouth will be hoping to cause an upset at home to Colchester United in the most exciting of the fixtures.

Team News:

Andy Taylor returns from suspension for Tranmere, although Aaron Cresswell could retain his place at left-back following an impressive debut against MK Dons at the weekend, whilst Ian Goodison and Craig Curran remain on the sidelines with injuries.

Jones' Prediction: Tranmere 2-0 Morecambe

Tranmere should be too strong for a Morecambe side who have struggled to put any kind of run of form together so far this season.

Despite not scoring in their last two games, Tranmere have played well and certainly created chances, only for the likes of Edds and Kay failing to hit the target or seriously test the 'keeper with their efforts.

Rovers will be missing Ian Goodison, but Kay and Chorley proved they can play together to a reasonable standard on Saturday, and they will be hoping for a repeat performance against a side who do not possess the attacking options of MK Dons.

Bas Savage could be the key man for Tranmere, with his height, pace and strength vital against all opposition, although he certainly needs to start scoring more goals, whilst Tranmere need to hope that the likes of Edds and Moore start finding the goal on a more regular basis.