Tranmere Rovers vs. Swindon match preview

The time has come for Tranmere to show what they are really made of
This week, Tranmere play their final Friday night fixture of the season as they take on mid-table Swindon Town in Coca-Cola League One.

Rovers will be hoping to make it three consecutive home wins and bounce back from the dissapointment of Monday's 2-1 defeat at Bournemouth, whilst a win would also put pressure on the teams around them as the play-off race hots up.

Swindon team profile:

Formed: 1894

Ground: The County Ground

Manager: Maurice Malpas

Nickname: The Robins

Season Finish 2006/07: 3rd (Coca-Cola League Two)

Previous Meetings:

Tranmere's unbeaten away run dating back to the start of the season came to an end at the County Ground when Tranmere played Swindon on October 20th 2007.

It wasn't a game that Tranmere deserved to win, and without wingers Shuker and Davies they were always going to struggle.

Tranmere's opening chance fell to Gareth Taylor who scuffed his effort wide whilst Greenacre hit an effort over soon after.

The home side had chances themselves in the opening 45 minutes also, although in all honesty the game saw a limited amount of chances for both sides. The Robins' best chances all fell to Lee Peacock, who twice had shots well saved by Coyne and sent another header wide.

Just before the break Carl Tremarco hit the post for Rovers with a brilliant effort from Gareth Taylor's knock-down whilst Coyne later saved from Paynter as the half drew to a close.

In the second half, there were fewer chances, and as the game wore on it became more apparent that one goal could win it.

Sherriff had a header from a Paul McLaren free-kick well saved and Jennings vollied wide before Swindon began to apply the pressure on the Rovers goal.

After Coyne had thwarted a number of Swindon efforts and Kay had seen a swerving volley well saved, Swindon got that all important goal on 88-minutes, with Barry Corr, unmarked by the penalty spot, hit his shot into the back of the net from a cross on the Swindon right.

Vital Stats:

In 27 meetings between these two sides at Prenton Park, Tranmere have picked up an impressive fifteen wins and lost just four times

The away side has one just one of the last seven meetings between these teams

Except for the 2006/07 season, these two teams have been in the same division as the other since the 1996/97 season

Swindon and Tranmere have met in Divisions Two, Three and Four after first meeting in the 1958/59 season

Tranmere and Swindon have previously played eight Friday night fixtures, all at Prenton Park, but Rovers have only picked up one victory as well as five draws

On This Day:

2005: Rovers lose an Easter Monday tie against Doncaster Rovers 4-2 at Prenton Park, with Eugene Dadi getting sent off for the home side

1998: John Aldridge's Tranmere win 3-0 away at Stoke in Division One

1997: Tranmere beat Southend United by the same scoreline at Prenton Park in Division One

Tranmere have played 15 fixtures on March 28th, picking up seven wins, four draws and four defeats. They have scored 29 goals and conceded on 20 occasions in those 15 matches.

The Form Book:

Tranmere last 6 home games: WWLWDW
Swindon last 6 away games: LLDLLW

Swindon Town will not be looking forward to a trip to Prenton Park this weekend, with Rovers having lose just one of their last eleven on home soil and Swindon having one just one of their last eight on the road in the league.

The Robins started their six match sequence with a 1-0 win at Kenilworth Road thanks to a second half strike from Roberts, but this was followed by a dissapointing 1-0 defeat to Huddersfield Town at the Galpharm Stadium.

A second consecutive 1-0 defeat then followed at the City Ground against Nottingham Forest before Lee Peacock scored twice to earn The Robins a 2-2 draw away to Oldham Athletic.

Two defeats have followed on the road since though, with the Robins firstly losing 2-1 at Brisbane Road against Leyton Orient before they made the trip home from Brighton and Hove Albion empty handed after another 2-1 defeat on Easter Saturday.

Other notable results for Swindon on the road this season include wins away to Millwall (2-1) and Yeovil Town (1-0) in the league as well as a 2-1 F.A. Cup victory against Wycombe Wanderers.

Swindon this season have picked up just 16 of an available 57 points on the road this season, thanks to three wins, seven draws and nine defeats from their nineteen games.

Impressive home results for the Robins include wins over Gillingham (5-0), Cheltenham Town (3-0), Nottingham Forest (2-1) and Tranmere Rovers (1-0).

Tranmere Rovers have been in much better form since mid-December on home soil and if only they could have picked up more points on the road they would definately be in a strong position to make the play-offs.

Ronnie Moore's side started their six match sequence with a 2-0 win over struggling Gillingham at Prenton Park before picking up a dissapointing 1-1 draw against Leyton Orient, despite taking an early lead through Calvin Zola.

Rovers returned to winning ways as they comfortably beat Millwall 2-0 on home soil in their next home game but a 1-0 defeat against Doncaster Rovers followed as an Antony Kay error lead to Jamie Coppinger smashing in a 25-yard effort in the opening minutes of the match.

Since though, Tranmere have picked up two consecutive wins on the Wirral, first coming lucky to beat Hartlepool United 3-1 thanks to goals from Greenacre, Nelson (own goal) and Sherriff, before Port Vale travelled to Prenton Park on a Thursday night and a much improved second half display from Tranmere was enough to earn them a 2-0 win.

Other notable home results for Tranmere Rovers this season include wins over Carlisle United (2-0), Brighton and Hove Albion (2-0), Bournemouth (3-1) and Huddersfield Town (3-0).

This season, Tranmere have picked up 34 points from an available 57 at Prenton Park, thanks to ten wins, four draws and five defeats from their nineteen home league games.

Tranmere have had a number of notable away results this season, including wins away to Carlisle United (1-0), Millwall (1-0), Leeds United (2-0) and Southend United (2-1).

Double Hit:

One of a number of players who represented both Swindon and Tranmere in his long and successful professional career was striker Paul Rideout.

Rideout started his career with Swindon in the early 1980's and stayed with the club until July 1983 when he moved to Aston Villa for a fee of £200,000 after playing 105 games for the club and scoring 41 goals.

Rideout stayed with Villa for a further two years, making another 63 appearances and scoring 22 goals before moving to Bari, Italy, for £400,000 in 1985.

99 appearance and 23 goals later, Rideout was back in England with Southampton, a team he joined for a further £430,000.

Again, Rideout was amongst the goals at Southampton, as he scored 21 goals in 93 games for the Saints in three years, a time which also saw him move back to Swindon on loan in 1991 when he scored one more goal in nine appearances for the Robins.

Further spells at Rangers and Notts County took over the next year of Rideout's career as he transfered between clubs for a total of £750,000 and scored four more goals in 28 appearances for the two clubs before he moved to Everton in 1992 for another £500,000.

Everton was the club with whom Rideout stayed for the longest, as he remained with the Toffee's for five years between 1992 and 1995. He enjoyed his time at Goodison Park too, as he scored 37 goals in 140 games for the Blues, including a header in the 1995 F.A. Cup final which got Everton the 1-0 win.

After three years of obscurity away from the English game, Rideout joined Tranmere in 2000 having left Everton in 1997 as he was coaxed back to into English football by then Tranmere manager John Aldridge.

Originally on a one-year contract, Rideout started well at Tranmere and in his first season he scored a vital hatrick in an F.A. Cup Fifth Round Replay against Southampton as Rovers came from 3-0 down at half-time to win 4-3, with Rideout getting the first three before Stewart Barlow got the Rovers winner.

Despite Tranmere's relegation in the 2000/01 season, Rideout signed a further one year deal with Tranmere as he finished his career with the club in 2002 having played 59 games and scored 12 goals.

In his career, Rideout scored 161 goals in nearly 600 appearances in league and cup competitions. He is now coaching football in America.

One To Watch: Lee Peacock

Scottish midfielder Lee Peacock has had a positive influence on Swindon Town since joining the side from Sheffield Wednesday in January 2006.

Starting his career with Carlisle United, Peacock made his debut for the Cumbrians during the 1995/96 season and played 90 times for the club, scoring twelve goals, before joining Mansfield Town in 1997 for £75,000.

He made a further 102 appearances for the Stags and his performances, which included a tally of 32 goals, did enough to interest Manchester City, who paid £500,000 for his services in October 1999.

His stay at Maine Road last under a year though, and in August 2000, having played just ten games for City, Peacock joined Bristol City for £600,000.

At Ashton Gate, Peacock became a huge success and regularly put in good performances against Tranmere Rovers. He scored 63 goals in 175 games for the club but in July 2004, after his contract expired with the club, he joined Sheffield Wednesday on a free-transfer.

It was from the Wendies that Peacock joined Swindon on a free-transfer, having netted nine times in an eighteen month spell with the Owls.

He has now scored seventeen times for Swindon in 94 appearances for the club, with five of those goals coming this season.

An attacking midfielder, Peacock has a never say die attitude and puts in 110% effort in every game he plays. He has a fierce turn of pace and a great shot, although his temper can sometimes let him down, with a tendancy to wind up opposition fans also creeping into his game.

Standing at exactly six foot tall, the heavily tatooed Scotsman wears the number four shirt for Swindon and should play in this fixture after returning from suspension to play in the Easter Monday defeat to Southend a few days ago.

Around League One:

The play-off race continues to hot up this weekend, with Tranmere able to move back into the play-offs and up to fifth in the table, above Southend and Brighton, should they win by three clear goals. Swindon on the other hand come to Prenton Park with very little to play for as they lie fifteenth in the league table, nine points off relegation and eleven points off the play-offs.

There is one other game on Friday night in the Football League and this is another huge League One fixture as Doncaster Rovers host Nottingham Forest at the Keepmoat Stadium. Tranmere could do with a home win in this fixture, with Forest just four points ahead of them in the table, meaning Rovers could be a point behind the side who they play at the end of April come 10:00pm on Friday.

On Saturday, there are a number of other important fixtures in League One. Carlisle United travel to Gillingham with a five point lead over Doncaster Rovers (before Donny play on Friday night) whilst Leeds United, now two points behind Tranmere, are at home to Brighton, a game which Tranmere would like to see drawn.

Southend United are at home to Walsall who have slipped to ninth in the table and are now two points off the final play-off spot, whilst Southend have rocketed up the league into fifth place after a mid-season slump.

Leyton Orient have dropped like a stone and they will be looking for three points as they travel to struggling Port Vale whilst league leaders Swansea City, now just five points clear at the top of the table, make the long trip north to Hartlepool United.

Team News:

Steve Davies remains out with a knee injury for Rovers, but otherwise Ronnie Moore should have a full fit squad to choose from, assuming Chris Shuker has recoved from the knock he picked up in training prior to the Bournemouth game. However, do expect changes from the Tranmere manager after the abysmal first half display on the South Coast on Easter Monday.

Jones' Prediction: Tranmere Rovers 2-0 Swindon

2-0 has been a common score for Tranmere wins at Prenton Park recently, having won three recent games by that margin on home soil. This Friday really should be no different as the team look to get back on track following Monday's dissapointment at Bournemouth.

Ronnie Moore is expected to make a couple of changes to the Tranmere side that lost in Bournemouth, with Antony Kay and Calvin Zola the likely players to take a place in the starting XI, although Chris Shuker could also play.

If Shuker is fit to play, it would be good to see Moore drop Shane Sherriff and switch Jennison Myrie-Williams on to his favoured left-wing. Should Shuker not make it then it is surely time to allow Mike Jones show the Tranmere fans what he is capable of in the first team, as he has been turning in performances for the reserves.

Tranmere need to go out their and take the game to Swindon. The Robins have struggled on the road this season with just three away league wins, and Tranmere should be looked to inflict another defeat on the Southern club.

A win would not only put three points on the board for Tranmere but also put pressure on their play-off rivals ahead of Saturday's fixture, whilst a big win would do Rovers no end of good confidence wise and also show their intent to the Tranmere fans and other clubs around them in the league table.