Tranmere Rovers vs. Woking match preview

Rovers quest to win the F.A. Cup, or atleast have a good run in the best competition in the world, begins this weekend against Woking
This Saturday, F.A. Cup football returns to Prenton Park for the first time since March 16th 2004, when Tranmere lost to Millwall in an F.A. Cup Quarter Final Replay on the Wirral.

Woking will be looking to upset the odds and beat Tranmere, whilst Rovers chairwoman Lorraine Rogers will be hoping that her club can get past the first round stage for the first time in two years.

Woking team profile:

Formed: 1889

Ground: Kingfield

Manager: Glenn Cockerill

Nickname: The Cards

Season Finish 2005/06: 11 (Nationwide Conference)

Woking F.C. - A Short History

A special add on for this F.A. Cup match, as we take a quick look at the history of Woking FC.

Last season, managed by Glenn Cockerill, who has been at the club since 2002, the Cards finished a disappointing 11th in the Nationwide Conference table, but had the joy of reaching the F.A. Trophy final at Upton Park.

However, Cockerill could only watch his side lose 2-0 to Grays Athletic as the season finished in disappointment.

The Card's made it to the Conference after winning promotion in the 1991/92 season, finishing 18 points clear of rivals Enfield at the top of the table.

Woking honours board sees them boast 18 trophies, including three F.A. Trophy final victories, one Isthmian cup and the club have also been Surrey Senior Cup winners nine times.

Previous Meetings:

Tranmere and
Woking have never previously met, so should there be a replay, we will be able to bring you this section!

Vital Stats:

This will be the first ever meeting between the two sides, despite both having a history spanning well over 100 years

Tranmere have won 5 consecutive home matches on November 11th

Rovers have scored 18 goals in six matches on Remembrance Day

Woking manager Glen Cockerill can proudly pick sons Sam and Liam who are on the books at Kingfield

Woking only turned professional at the beginning of the 2003/04 season

The F.A. Cup:

Another special add on to the match preview for this F.A. Cup First Round match, as we take a look at how the two teams have faired in the F.A. Cup.

Woking have been far from prolific in the F.A. Cup, with The Cards only managing to get to the Fourth Round stage of the competition in their 117 year history.

This occurred in the 1990/91 season, when The Cards, then in the Isthmian Premier Division, defeated Conference opposition in Kidderminster Harriers and Merthyr Tydfil to set up a 3rd Round clash with Midlands side West Brom.

The Card's won the game 4-2, mainly thanks to a hatrick from Tim Buzaglo before
Woking were drawn away to Everton in a dream tie. Former Tranmere assistant-manager Kevin Sheedy scored the only goal as the game as The Toffee's won 1-0.

Tranmere meanwhile have faired much better in the F.A. Cup, with Rovers reaching the Quarter Final stage of the competition three times, once under John Aldridge and once under Brian Little.

On all three occasions, Rovers have lost three home ties (after originally drawing with Millwall) but each venture has seen Rovers knock out Premiership opposition.

Over the 1999/2000 and 2000/01 seasons under Aldo, when Rovers reach the Quarter Finals stage, West Ham (1-0), Sunderland (1-0), Everton (3-0) and Southampton (4-3, after trailing 3-0 at half-time) were all dispatched, before Rovers succumbed to Premiership opposition in the form of Newcastle United (3-2) and Liverpool (4-2) at Prenton Park.

In the 2003/04 season under the guidance of Brian Little, Rovers again reached the Quarter Final stage of the competition. Rovers beat
Chesterfield 3-2 at Prenton Park in the First Round and after negotiating a tricky away tie at Hornchurch in the first round (1-0); Rovers beat set up a tie with fierce Rivals Bolton Wanderers.

After a 1-1 draw at
Prenton Park, Rovers went to The Reebok Stadium and won 2-1, with first a goal from Eugene Dadi and then a stunning 30-yard winner from Iain Hume, bringing Swansea to Prenton Park in the 5th Round, a game Rovers won 2-1 to set up a Quarter Final draw with Millwall.

However, Rovers lost the tie on the replay, 2-1 at
Prenton Park, after drawing 0-0 with The Lions live on BBC Television at The Den.

In the Fourth Qualifying Competition of this years F.A. Cup, Woking defeated Potters Bar 3-2 infront of 1443 at Kingfield.

The Form Book:

Tranmere last 6 home games (including cup): WLWLDD
Woking last 6 away games (including cup): LLLWWW

Woking's poor away form so far this season is the main reason as to why they currently lie in 12th place in the Nationwide Conference.

Their last three away games have seen The Cards lose three times, scoring just two goals and conceeding five in the process, showing that Cockerill's side have a pretty mean defence.

Most recently, Woking have suffered the agony of two straight 1-0 defeats on the road, as first Stafford Rangers and then Gravesend and Northfleet beat The Cards, with an attendance of just over 1000 present at both games.

Before that, Woking lost 3-2 on the road at Stevenage Borough, after they had been on a run of four consecutive away wins.

In September, Forest Green Rovers (3-2), St. Albans City (1-0), Altrincham (3-2) and Northwhich Victoria (2-0) were all defeated by Woking, as the Surrey side made a surge up the table.

However, Woking started the season with just one point and no goals from their opening two away games, drawing 0-0 with Southport and losing 3-0 to Grays.

Under new boss Ronnie Moore, Tranmere have had a great start to the 2006/07 season, particually at Prenton Park, where Rovers have been defeated just once in the league.

Rovers won their first four home games of the season, beating Oldham Athletic (1-0), Yeovil Town (2-1), Leyton Orient (3-0) and Bristol City (1-0) before they went on a run of three games without a home win.

First, Rovers drew 0-0 with Nottm Forest, before Huddersfield Town came from 2-0 down at half-time to draw 2-2 with The Super White Army. Port Vale then came to town on a Friday night and beat Rovers 2-1.

However, Tranmere are now firmly back in the swing of things, with two home league wins in their last two games, as Bournemouth (1-0) and Millwall (3-1) have made the long trip home empty handed.

However, sandwiched in between those two league games against Bournemouth and Millwall was an awful performance against Darlington in the Second Round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, as Rovers were defeated 1-0.

The One To Watch:

There is one Woking player in particular this season who has showed great potential since signing for the club in July.

Guiseppe Sole signed in July for The Cards, and made his debut on the opening day of the Conference season for Glenn Cockerill's side.

So far this season, striker Sole has played 18 times, including five appearences from the substitutes bench, scoring six goals (0.33 goals per game).

Sole also impressed after coming off the bench in the Live Televised match against Aldershot, showed on Sky TV, when the Woking number-24 came off the bench and scored.

Team News:

Rovers have a number of key injury worries to go with a suspension ahead of Saturday's game.

Chris Shuker will serve a one match suspension, due to him picking up five yellow cards already this season, whilst Steve Jennings, Robbie Stockdale, Calvin Zola, Olly James and Kevin Ellison will all miss out due to injury.

John Achterberg could well play in goal, whilst Mike Jones may feature for the first time this season at right-midfielder due to Shuker missing out, whilst John Thompson will continue at right-back.

Jones' Prediction: Tranmere Rovers 3-1 Woking