Tranmere Rovers vs. Scunthorpe United match preview

Rovers praying striker Greenacre can return to form
Tranmere Rovers are in action in League One again this Tuesday night, as they entertain former league leaders Scunthorpe United at Prenton Park in what is an important game for both teams.

After losing at the weekend, Scunthorpe were replaced at the top of the table by Leicester City, whilst defeat at Yeovil for Tranmere meant they slipped to eight points off the play-off race, ground they will be hoping to re-gain this week.

Scunthorpe United team profile:

Formed: 1899

Ground: Glanford Park

Manager: Nigel Adkins

Nickname: The Iron

Season Finish 2005/06: 23rd (Coca-Cola Championship)

Previous Meetings:

Scunthorpe didn't play Tranmere last season as they struggled in the Coca Cola Championship, a battle that was eventually lost as Nigel Adkins' side were relegated after just one season in the division.

The last meeting then between the two sides came on a sunny April afternoon in 2007 as Scunthorpe travelled to Prenton Park and picked up a 2-0 win that secured their promotion from the division.

Davies and McLaren had had first half chances for Tranmere but it was Scunthorpe who deservely took the lead just after half-time as Gavin Ward gifted the visiters the lead, when Glyn Hurst's corner was met by Butler who headed straight at Ward. However, despite saving, the Tranmere goalkeeper fell over his own line to give the Iron the lead.

Only a few minutes later it was 2-0 when Billy Sharp scored an easy tap in to secure the win and promotion for Scunthorpe in over 2,000 travelling fans.

The meeting earlier in the season at Glanford Park had taken place on a Tuesday night and ended in an eventful 1-1 draw, as Rovers battled back to pick up an excellent point.

Scunthorpe took the lead just before the half-hour mark as a Morris free-kick was missed by centre-backs Goodison and McCready, with the ball falling to Keogh at the back post who gladly tapped home into the empty net.

After the break though Tranmere pushed forward and on 53-minutes Shane Sherriff equalised for Ronnie Moore's side as he passed the ball into the net from inside the penalty area after recieving Shuker's cross.

Rovers had further chances too and could have won the game, with the likes of Zola missing difficult chances as they game ended in a 1-1 draw.

Vital Stats:

The home side has not won in any of the last four meetings between these two sides

In 26 home games against Scunthorpe, Tranmere have picked up thirteen wins and two draws

51 previous meetings between the two sides have produced just one 0-0 draw

Rovers have never lost a league match against Scunthorpe in the month of November

There have been 75 goals in 26 matches at Prenton Park when these two sides have met

On This Day:

2003: John Aldridge's Tranmere side lose 3-1 at Nottingham Forest in Division One

1995: Rovers lose 1-0 at home to Grimsby Town in Division One

1986: Tranmere are embarrassingly hammered 6-1 by Wrexham in the Associated Members trophy

Rovers have played ten previous fixtures on November 25th, picking up five wins, one draw and four defeats. In those ten games they have scored 22 goals and conceded fourteen.

The Form Book:

Tranmere last 6 home games: DWWWWL
Scunthorpe last 6 away games: WWLWDW

A draw with Southend last time out at Prenton Park brought an end to a revival of form at Prenton Park for Tranmere, with Ronnie Moore's side having won four in a row infront of their home faithful.

Rovers started their six match sequence with a dreadful 3-1 defeat to Millwall, putting in a shocking display and thoroughly deserving to lose, but since they have gone unbeaten at Prenton Park.

Firstly, Rovers beat Cheltenham Town 2-0 on a Tuesday night, before following this result up three days later with another 2-0 win, this time against Crewe Alexandra.

Ronnie Moore's side then beat two League Two sides in the cup competitions at Prenton Park, firstly beating Morecambe 1-0 in the Johnstone's Paints Trophy Northern Section Quarter Final before a Chris Shuker goal was enough for Rovers to see off Accrington Stanley by the same scoreline in an F.A. Cup First Round replay.

In Tranmere's most recent home game, they drew 2-2 with Southend United, despite leading the game twice, but defensive errors cost Rovers in the match.

Other noteable results for Tranmere at Prenton Park this season include wins over Hartlepool United (1-0), Crewe Alexandra (1-0) and Northampton Town (4-1).

Tranmere Rovers have played eight home league games so far this season, winning four, drawing one and losing three, meaning they have picked up thirteen points from an available 24.

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

Ronnie Moore's side come into this game in eleventh place with 24 points from their opening seventeen games, eight points off the final play-off place. They have won seven, drawn three and lost seven games so far this season.

Scunthorpe United's away form this season has been nothing short of excellent, as in they come to Prenton Park with the third best record in League One, behind only Leicester - who have played a game more on the road - and MK Dons, the two teams ahead of Nigel Adkins' side in the League One table.

They started their six match sequence with a win, beating Hereford United 2-1 at Edgar Street, before drawing with struggling Leyton Orient 2-2, a game in which Orient came from 2-0 down to draw.

Scunthorpe then beat Cheltenham Town 2-1, with Matt Sparrow getting a 90th minute winner for the Glanford Park side, before they lost 3-0 to Oldham at Boundary Park, their only away league defeat of the season.

Two wins have followed since for Scunthorpe, firstly knocking Walsall out of the F.A. Cup with a convincing 3-1 win before beating Bristol Rovers 2-1 just over a week ago.

Other thoroughly impressive results for Scunthorpe on the road this season include heavy wins over Brighton and Hove Albion (4-1) and Stockport County (3-0).

Scunthorpe United have played eight away league games so far this seaosn, picking up sixteen points from an available 24 thanks to five wins, one draw and two defeats.

Impressive results at home for Scunthorpe this season include wins over Peterborough United (1-0), Millwall (3-2) and Carlisle United (2-1).

The Iron come into this match in third place in the League One table thanks to picking up 33 of an available 51 points from their opening 17 games. They have achieved this thanks to ten wins, three draws and four defeats.

Double Hit:

Sheffield Wednesday defender and midfielder Richard Hinds started his career at Tranmere Rovers before later playing for Scunthorpe United.

Hinds came through the youth ranks at Prenton Park when John Aldridge was Rovers manager, and he became a consistent performer, both in defence and midfield, for the Super Whites.

Playing in famous victories over the likes of Everton, Leeds and Southampton, Hinds made his Tranmere debut in the 1998/1999 season and went on to make 69 appearances for the club before being released and joining Hull City in June 2003.

Hinds stayed with Hull for two years, helping them through two promotions from League Two up to the Championship, making 49 appearances, as well as spending time on loan at Scunthorpe at the end of the 2004/05 season.

His two months on loan at Glanford Park was enough to convince Brian Laws to sign him on a free-transfer in June 2005, and Hinds promptly made it three consecutive promotions as he helped Scunthorpe out of League One and into the Championship.

He stayed at Scunthorpe for two seasons and was a firm favourite at Glanford Park, although he didn't win much love from his former club Tranmere when he was sent off against Rovers in November 2005.

Hinds made 98 appearances for Scunthorpe, scoring nine goals, before joining the club he supported as a boy, Sheffield Wednesday, in July 2007.

The utility man is still with the Owls, having made 44 appearances for the club, although injury cut his season short in August, with Hinds not having made an appearance since August 16th.

One To Watch: Gary Hooper

Free-scoring striker Gary Hooper joined Scunthorpe United in the summer for £175,000 from Southend United, where the striker had failed to make an impression.

He started his career with Grays in Non-League football before joining Southend on a free transfer in time for the start of the 2006/07 season.

However, Hooper never found his feet at Southend, making 44 appearances for the club, although well over half of them were from the substitutes bench, scoring four times.

He also spent time out on loan with Leyton Orient and then last season at Hereford, where Hooper was very successful, netting eleven times in nineteen games, enough to convince Scunthorpe to splash the cash on the payer.

Joining Scunthorpe, Hooper had big boots to fill, with the likes of Billy Sharp and Andy Keogh having played for the club in the last few years.

Hooper has however filled those boots, or perhaps that should be filled his boots, having played twenty games and scored eleven for the club since his big money move in July.

Wearing the number ten shirt for Scunthorpe, striker Hooper, who can also play in midfield, is just twenty years old and there is most definately plenty more to come from a player who is already setting League One alight with his form this season.

He is quick and although not tall, this doesn't effect his game, as Hooper is a very good finisher from inside the area whilst he will work tirelessly all game.

Around League One:

There is a full round of fixtures in League One this Tuesday evening, a list of fixtures which could see any of six teams top the table come 10pm.

Starting with Tranmere's match against Scunthorpe, Rovers will be hoping to close the eight point gap between themselves and sixth placed Leeds, with it being possible for Tranmere to move up to ninth in the table, above Walsall and Stockport, with a win.

Scunthorpe meanwhile could top the table at the end of the evening, should they win and results go their way.

For this to happen, Leicester City, currently top and ahead of Scunthorpe by two points following their 2-1 victory over The Iron at the weekend, must lose at home to struggling Crewe, whilst the MK Dons, second and one point ahead of Scunthorpe, must get no more than a point in their game against another struggling side, Hereford.

Fourth placed Millwall, level on points with Scunthorpe, are at home to Carlisle whilst the two teams on 32 points, Peterborough, fifth, and Leeds United, sixth, are away to Swindon Town and Northampton Town.

Seventh placed Oldham can do Tranmere a rare favour when they take on tenth placed Walsall, whilst the other two teams above Tranmere in the table, Southend and Stockport, have tough fixtures too, with Stockport hosting Brighton and Southend travelling to Cheltenham.

Team News:

Tranmere Rovers will still be without midfielder Steven Jennings, who sits out the second match of a two game ban, but right-back Ryan Shotton and captain Antony Kay both return from their one game bans. Ian Goodison may not return from international duty in time for this game, whilst striker Craig Curran is also still missing with a stomach injury. George O'Callaghan is out whilst flu victims Ian Moore and Gareth Edds are both doubts. On-loan Mark Wilson is expected to retain his place in midfield.

Jones' Prediction:
Tranmere Rovers 2-1 Scunthorpe United

Despite what many may believe, Ronnie Moore's Tranmere side are well capable of winning this game against a side who may still be licking their wounds following a dissapointing defeat at the weekend.

Ronnie Moore will probably go with a 4-4-2 formation for Rovers, which could see Aaron Cresswell start on the left-wing and Chris Shuker on the right, with Savage and Greenacre up front. This is no doubt a formation that could provide goals for Rovers, but at the back they have been weak, and they will be praying for the return of Ian Goodison to partner Ben Chorley in defence.

The midfield has also been weak in recent matches for Tranmere, and the likes of Antony Kay need to stamp their authority on the game early on against a strong side who will be looking to attack Tranmere from the off.

Rovers need to win the battles in midfield, but also they need to battle hard, even when they lose the ball, as in recent weeks the midfield has given up after losing the ball early on, putting lots of unwanted pressure on the defence.