Tranmere Rovers vs. Oldham Athletic match preview

Moore facing his old club on Tuesday night
This Tuesday once again see's League football cleverly played in the same week as the Champions League, as Oldham Athletic make the short trip to Prenton Park to take on Tranmere Rovers.

The game, for Tranmere especially, is what you might call a local derby, with Oldham only having to travel just over an hour to get to the Wirral whilst for Rovers the only games that are about the same distance in League One this season are Port Vale and Crewe.

Oldham Athletic team profile:

Formed: 1899

Ground: Boundary Park

Manager: John Sheridan

Nickname: The Latics

Season Finish 2005/06: 6th (Coca-Cola League One)

Previous Meetings:

Last season, both games between the two sides ended in a 1-0 win for the home side, as each side picked up three crucial points in their push for promotion.

The meeting at
Prenton Park turned out to be the first game of the 2006/07 season, as in his first game in charge of Tranmere, Ronnie Moore took on Oldham Athletic who he had left in the summer.

That game ended in a 1-0 win with Chris Greenacre getting on the score sheet and getting Tranmere off to the perfect start for their season. Shuker floated the ball into the box to another new signing, Ellison, who headed the ball down to Greenacre and the Rovers number 10 headed home from close range.

Back at
Boundary Park in February, and Rovers left empty handed after a terrible error by goalkeeper Gavin Ward in the 90th minute.

Having matched their
Oldham opponents for the whole game, Rovers gifted the Latics the win, as Ward dropped Hall's header straight to the feet of Porter who put the ball in the net and sealed the win.

Vital Stats:

Tranmere have won 19 of 34 games at Prenton Park between these two sides

In the last four games between the two sides the home team has kept a clean sheet

There have been nine fixtures since the last away win when the two sides have faced each other at any venue

Rovers hold their record win over Oldham, a 13-4 victory in the 1935/36 season

In 34 games against Oldham at Prenton Park, Tranmere have scored 71 goals

On This Day:

2005: Rovers suffer a 2-1 away defeat to Bradford in the FA Cup, with Bradford's first goal appearing not to cross the goal line

2004: Two goals from Paul Hall help Tranmere to a 2-1 victory over Swindon Town in League One

1999: Tranmere help themselves to a 3-0 victory over West Brom at Prenton Park

From 15 games played on November 6th, Tranmere have won eight, drawn three and lost four, scoring 23 goals and conceeding 18 in the process.

The Form Book:

Tranmere last 6 home games: WDDDWL
Oldham last 6 away games: LDLDDW

Oldham Athletic have had a horrible start away from home on the road, as they come into this fixture without a win in their last five matches away from Boundary Park.

In fact,
Oldham, currently 20th in League One, have won just one of seven away games and a further two defeats have come from three cup games.

In their first away game of the season, John Sheridan's side lost 1-0 away to
Carlisle and they followed this up with a terrible showing against Hartlepool on September 1st, a game which they lost 4-1 at Victoria Park.

Some pride was restored after a 3-0 thumping of
Walsall in the league, and with this following a 3-2 against Accrington Stanley in the Johnstone's Paints Trophy, it looked like Oldham could have turned a corner.

However, since the
Walsall victory Oldham are without a win on the road. Firstly, they drew 1-1 away with Cheltenham Town before getting the same result at the Galpharm Stadium against Huddersfield.

Two defeats in three games have followed though, with a 3-0 thumping at the hands of Doncaster Rovers coming in the Johnstone's Paints Trophy before a 0-0 draw with
Nottingham Forest and a 1-0 defeat away to high-flying Leyton Orient.

In their other away cup game,
Oldham made the short journey to Turf Moor to take on Burnley in the League Cup and were beaten 3-0.

From seven away league games this season, Oldham have managed one win, three draws and three defeats, meaning they have a total of six points from an available 21.

Notable home results for the
Lancashire side include wins over Swansea City (2-1) and Crewe Alexandra (3-2). Oldham do however come into this game without a win in all competitions, home and away, in their last seven.

Despite a blip in the Johnstone's Paints Trophy, Tranmere are unbeaten in their last six home league games, and if it hadn't been for three consecutive draws at home Rovers would be in a much stronger league position than the one they currently occupy.

Tranmere started the season with a 2-1 home defeat to Leeds United, but two weeks later they picked up their first home win of the season as Greenacre and Shuker scored the goals in a 2-0 win over
Brighton and Hove Albion.

Next at home, Tranmere played
Luton Town and got a valuable 2-1 win. After a poor first 70 minutes, the introduction of Kay and Curran changed the game, as Rovers came from 1-0 down to win in the final ten minutes, with the two substitutes scoring the goals.

This was followed up by three consecutive draws on the road though for Tranmere, as they drew with
Northampton Town (2-2), Crewe Alexandra (1-1) and Walsall (0-0) whilst failing to take the lead in any of these games.

Ronnie Moore's side returned to winning way last time out at Prenton Park however, as they beat a very poor Huddersfield Town side 3-0 in a Friday night encounter on the Wirral, with goals coming from Paul McLaren, Shane Sherriff and Gareth Taylor.

In the Johnstone's Paints Trophy, Tranmere were knocked out in the first round at home by league new boys Morecambe (1-0).

From a total of seven league home games this season, Tranmere have picked up three wins, three draws and a defeat, totalling 12 points from an available 21.

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

Double Hit:

Stoke City central-defender Clint Hill is on of a large number of players who has represented Tranmere and Oldham down the years.

Hill, now 29, started his career with Tranmere where he graduated through the youth ranks alongside the likes of Jason Koumas, Alan Mahon and Steve Simonson.

Making his debut in the 1997/98 season, Hill scored on his second appearance for the club in a 3-0 win over Hereford in the FA Cup and was soon one of the first choice centre-backs in the Tranmere side, then managed by John Aldridge.

Hill always had problems with his on the field discipline though and he often found his name in the referee's book. In the 1999/2000 season alone, Hill was sent off four times whilst picking up a further five yellow cards.

Hill though became an intergral part of the team and was akey figure in the Tranmere teams that made it's way to the League Cup final and two F.A. Cup Quarter Finals under John Aldridge. Indeed, it was Hill who scored Tranmere's goal in a 1-0 win over Bolton in a League Cup Semi-Final first leg, but in the Worthington Cup final, Hill was sent off for two-yellow cards.

By the time he left Tranmere in July 2002, Hill had made just under 170 appearances for the club and scored 20 goals. But after rejecting a new deal, he joined Oldham for a tribunal fee of £250,000 due to his age.

Oldham however were losing money and fast, and it looked as if they were heading towards liquidation. Just a year after joining the Latics, Hill left for Stoke City, having made 25 appearances for the club and scoring one goal, that against Tranmere when he kissed the Oldham badge infront of the Rovers fans.

In July 2003, Hill joined Stoke then where he remains today. Despite breaking his leg on two occassions, Hill is a prominant figure in the Stoke side and has captained the side previously. He has now made 84 appearances and scored three goals for the club and is still renowned for his tough tackling and heading in his general no-nonsense and never say die attitude football.

One To Watch: Neil Kilkenny

Gifted central midfielder Neil Kilkenny is currently on-loan at Boundary Park from Premiership side Birmingham City.

Coming through the youth ranks with the Blues, Kilkenny has made 39 appearances for the club, with the majority of them from the substitutes bench, and was sent on loan to Oldham this season for his second spell after making 34 appearances and scoring once for them in a loan spell during the 2004/05 season.

Kilkenny has now added a further two goals and 12 appearances to his Oldham tally and continues to gain first team experience which is vital to any football these days.

He is a good passer of the ball and also a good tackler as he sits in midfield and breaks up the play whilst trying to get forward and score goals.

Wearing the number 27 shirt for Oldham, five foot eight inches tall Kilkenny is now 21 and continues to impress whilst on loan with the Latics.

Around League One:

There is once again a full fixture list in Coca-Cola League One this Tuesday night as Tranmere look to push back towards the top of the division after a dissapointing result in Nottingham on Saturday.

Tranmere can move back into the automatic promotion spots, above Leyton Orient, should results go their way on Tuesday as they start the night on 23 points from 14 games in sixth place, three points behind Orient in second.

Oldham meanwhile lie 20th in the league table and could be in grave danger of relegation come May if their form doesn't improve. A defeat on Tuesday night could meanwhile Oldham drop to the foot of the table if the team below them, Bournemouth, Millwall, Port Vale and Cheltenham, all pick up points against Leeds, Swansea, Crewe and Yeovil - all home games for the four bottom clubs.

Bournemouth then have the tough test of Leeds who go into the game on the back of their first defeat of the season after they lost 3-1 away to table-topping Carlisle at the weekend.

Yeovil and Swansea, also teams in the play-off frame will be looking to return to form after the Glovers lost 2-0 against Crewe at the weekend whilst Swansea drew 1-1 at home to Gillingham, former Rovers player Delroy Facey getting the Gillingham goal.

Carlisle travel to Luton Town in what is set ot be another exciting game as mid-table Luton will be looking for important points whilst a win for Carlisle would ensure they stay top of the division for another ten days atleast.

Leyton Orient have a tough away day at Swindon Town, a ground where Tranmere lost 1-0 just over two weeks ago. Orient will be hoping to move ahead of Carlisle, a team they lie just one point behind and indeed their away form has been mainly good this season, whilst Swindon have slipped to eleventh place and four points off the play-offs after a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Doncaster on Saturday.

The biggest game of the night though undoubtably is at the City Ground, where Nottingham Forest, playing their third successive home game, take on Southend United in a game which is a fourth against third clash. Southend go into the game on 25 points, one place and a point above Forest, although the home side will undoubtably have the advantage after their 2-0 win over Tranmere at the weekend whilst Southend got a good 1-0 away win at mid-table Northampton.

Two other teams who have creeped up to the brink of the play-off places are Brighton and Hove Albion, in seventh place and on 23 points, level with sixth placed Tranmere, and Doncaster Rovers who go into their game in eighth place and on 21 points.

Brighton have a home fixture against Walsall as they look to follow up their 3-1 weekend win over Luton whilst Doncaster Rovers are in good form currently and face the tricky prospect of an away trip to Gillingham.

Team News:

Once again, Rovers will be without long term absentee's Steve Davies (knee) and John Mullin (ankle), whilst there are still doubts hanging over the heads of Calvin Zola and Chris Shuker who have both missed Rovers last two games, with Shuker not playing since 13th October thanks to a thigh strain.

Jones' Prediction: Tranmere 2-0 Oldham