Tranmere Rovers vs Swansea City match preview

Rovers pushing for play-offs
After a spirited 0-0 draw away at Doncaster Rovers last weekend, Tranmere Rovers play their first home Saturday league game for the first time since 29th September this weekend as they take on Swansea City at Prenton Park.

Rovers go in to the game just one point behind the Swans, who currently occupy the final play-off place, and know that a win would put them back up in the promotion places.

Swansea City team profile:

Formed: 1912

Ground: The Liberty Stadium

Manager: Roberto Martinez

Nickname: The Swans/The Jacks

Season Finish 2006/07: 7th (Coca-Cola League One)

Previous Meetings:

Tranmere Rovers failed to beat Swansea City at all last season, as the Welsh side picked up a 0-0 draw at home to Rovers before coming up north to the Wirral and winning 2-0.

The game at the Liberty Stadium landed on a Friday night and only a small number of Tranmere fans travelled down to the game, which also landed in the middle of a five match winless run for Rovers.

Despite this run however, a point moved Rovers up to second place in League One after a game which niether side really deserved to win, with very few clear cut chances falling to either team.

Back on the Wirral in March and Tranmere suffered a 2-0 defeat to the Swans as Andy Robinson once again returned to haunt his former club.

The Swansea winger, who started his career at Tranmere but only made one appearance for the club, headed home from near the penalty spot from a Leon Britton cross to open the scoring on six minutes.

After a couple of chances for either side, Swansea doubled their lead on 52-minutes as Lee Trundle, now with Bristol City, beat the offside trap and out paced Chris McCready before finishing past Gavin Ward from inside the penalty area.

On 59-minutes however Rovers fans were given some joy as Lee Trundle was sent off for his second booking after the striker kicked the ball away.

Vital Stats:

Out of 13 meetings between the two sides at Prenton Park, Tranmere have won five times, combined with five draws between the two sides and three away wins for Swansea

Since their return to League One, Tranmere have failed to beat Swansea in four league matches

25 total meetings between the two sides have thrown up 11 draws

The three previous meetings between Swansea and Tranmere in November have all ended as draws

In 25 games between the two sides, there have only been 53 goals

On This Day:

2006: Tranmere pick up an excellent Friday night home win against Blackpool, beating the Tangerines 2-0 thanks to goals from Chris Greenacre and Steve Davies

2001: Rovers, under the management of Dave Watson, hammer Cambridge United 6-1 in front of 8,004 fans in Division Two

1979: Tranmere hammer Leamington 9-0 at home in an F.A. Cup match

Tranmere have played 18 games on 24th November, picking up so far 12 wins, three draws and three defeats. In those 18 games, they have scored an increadible 50 goals, netting on four or more occasions on no less than six times

The Form Book:

Tranmere last 6 home games: LWDDDW
Swansea last 6 away games: WDWWWL

Away from the Liberty Stadium, Swansea City's form this season has been nothing short of magnificent so far, as they have lost just twice in nine league and cup away games.

Since a 2-0 defeat at Leeds United on September 22nd, a match played in front of 29,467 spectators, Swansea City have gone on a five match unbeaten run on the road which has included an impressive four wins.

After defeat to Leeds, Swansea first hammered then league leaders Leyton Orient 5-0 at Brisbane Road before winning 4-1 at Bournemouth and then 2-1 at Yeovil.

Swansea then got a 2-2 draw against Millwall in a game which they lead 1-0 before trailing 2-1 and then getting the final goal, this before their last away game, when the Swans were once again forced to come from behind against non-league Billericay Town in the F.A. Cup first round, as Roberto Martinez's side won 2-1.

Other notable away results for Roberto Martinez and his side include wins over Walsall (3-1) and Cheltenham Town (2-1).

From a total of eight away league games, City have picked up two defeats, five wins and a draw, meaning they have picked up a total of 16 points from an available 24.

Notable home results for the Swans include wins over Swindon Town (2-1), Carlisle United (2-1) and a League Cup win over Walsall (2-0).

It is fair to say that Tranmere's recent run of form at Prenton Park is nothing to brag about, with Rovers having picked up just one win in their last five home games.

Since a 2-1 victory over Luton Town at Prenton Park on September 14th, Rovers have drawn three times and picked up one win and one defeat in five matches.

The run started with a 2-2 home draw against Northampton Town before Rovers then drew 1-1 with Crewe in a Tuesday night fixture, with Ronnie Moore's side coming from behind to earn a point in both games.

Tranmere followed this up with a 0-0 draw against Walsall in a Friday night fixture before they picking up their only home win since mid-September with a 3-0 win over a poor Huddersfield side thanks to goals from McLaren, Sherriff and Taylor.

However, just ten days later they continued their dismal form in Tuesday night games against Oldham Athletic as Rovers lost 1-0 to John Sherridan's side who had previously been struggling in the league.

One other notable home result for Tranmere includes a 2-0 home win over Brighton whilst the Super White Army were knocked out of the Johnstone's Paints Trophy at the first hurdle by League Two side Morecambe at Prenton Park, losing the game 1-0.

From eight home league games, Tranmere have picked up three wins, three draws and two defeats, meaning they have 12 points from an available 24.

Notable away results for Ronnie Moore's men include wins over Gillingham (2-0), Southend United (2-1) and Carlisle United (1-0).

Double Hit:

Swansea midfielder Andy Robinson was signed by Ray Mathias and Tranmere Rovers from local non-league side Cammell Laird in 2002 but he made just one appearance for the club, an LDV Vans Trophy match against Bury, and in 2003 he was eventually released after "personal problems".

Tranmere fan Robinson never let his former club forget this though, saying that he had a distinct dislike for the club as they never game him a chance at first team football, and how Rovers were to pay.

In August 2003, Robinson joined Swansea on a free-transfer and he has never looked back.

Now 28, Robinson has gone on to make 190 league and cup appearances for Swansea in both League One and League Two and has netted 47 goals in the process, including two goals against Tranmere, both at Prenton Park and in seperate games.

Playing mainly as a winger these days, the Swansea number 18 has good pace and a deadly finish when he gets in the right position, as well as the ability to create goals.

One To Watch: Jason Scotland

The departure of forward Lee Trundle to Bristol City in the summer left a big hole to fill upfront for Swansea City, but that is most certainly a hole that new front man Jason Scotland has filled.

Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Scotland started his career in his home country with firstly San Juan Jabloteh and Defence Force before moving to Scotland and Dundee United in 2003.

Scotland scored five times in his first nine games for United and in total netted ten goals in 60 games for the club before earning a move to St. Johnstone for an undisclosed fee in August 2005.

At St. Johnstone, Scotland's profile began to rise as in two seasons with the club, the tall, fast striker netted a highly impressive 42 goals in 81 games, including two hatricks for the club.

However, in May 2007, after two seasons with St. Johnstone (the only team in British league football with the letter "J" in their name), Scotland moved to Wales, joining up with Swansea for an undisclosed fee.

Since joining Swansea, the 28-year old has netted eight goals in 20 games for the club and has so far impressed the Swansea fans.

Scotland also brings international experience with him, having played 24 games for his national side Trinidad and Tobago and netted five goals in the process.

He wears the number nine shirt for Swansea and as well as having good pace, he has height and is equally as good in the air as he is in front of goal.

Around League One:

Tranmere's game against Swansea City this weekend see's eighth take on sixth in Coca-Cola League One, with just one point and two places seperating the two sides.

If results go their way, a 3-0 win could be enough to send Swansea top, despite lying in sixth place, whilst a win for Rovers could move them as high as fourth (realistically) come the end of the weekend.

Elsewhere this weekend, there are a number of key fixtures between teams at the same end of the table.

Table topping Carlisle are at home to in form Brighton and Hove Albion, with Brighton lying one place and one point above Tranmere Rovers. Carlisle didn't play last weekend, due to the internationals, whilst Brighton are on a fine run of form and last weekend picked up a 2-2 draw with Leyton Orient, live on Sky Sports.

Luton, who went into administration this week and face a ten point deduction, take on Southend United with the Shrimpers lying in a play-off place and Luton going into the game in bottom place following their penalty.

On Sunday Leeds United travel to Cheltenham on a run of just one win in five games, but still lying in fourth place which shows how good their run of form has been this season. However, Cheltenham will be keen for a win as they look to push out of the relegation zone following a 2-2 draw with Southend last weekend.

21st placed Bournemouth host 19th placed Oldham in what is a big game for two sides struggling at the wrong end of the table and both coming off 1-1 draws last weekend whilst Leyton Orient face an in form Huddersfield side, who have won three in a row, at the Galpharm Stadium.

Other fixtures see Millwall take on Yeovil Town and promotion chasing Nottingham Forest take on mid-table Crewe Alexandra.

Team News:

Ronnie Moore has a selection dilemma for the left-back position as either of Shane Sherriff or Andrew Taylor could fill the position. Ian Gooidison is expected to have returned from international duty to take his place in the centre of defence whilst Rovers forward Craig Curran returns from suspension for the game. Carl Tremarco however begins a three match ban whilst long term absentee's Steve Davies and John Mullin will once again miss out. Chris Shuker and Adnan Ahmed are also doubtful with injuries whilst Ben Chorley is still missing with a calf injury.

Jones' Prediction: Tranmere Rovers 2-1 Swansea City

This game will certainly be a tough test for Tranmere, especially against a Swansea City side who they never seem to beat. However, with the signing of Jennison Myrie-Williams and the expected start of Andrew Taylor at left-back, Tranmere have a new left-side which could certainly trouble their opponents.

Rovers are of course looking for their first league win of November in a game which is their last chance to put that record straight, and with a play-off place beckoning until the start of December if Rovers win, Ronnie Moore's side will certainly be going all out for the three points.