Tranmere vs. Darlington match preview

Moore expecting Tranmere victory
Tuesday see's cup football return to Prenton Park for the first time since last season when Rovers were knocked out of the Football League Trophy by Carlisle, as Tranmere face Darlington in the Secound Round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

Ronnie Moore's side will be looking for a second successive win for the first time since September when Leyton Orient and Bristol City were beaten in the League at Prenton Park, whilst Darlington will be looking for a first win under new boss Dave Penny.

Darlington Team Profile:

Formed: 1883
Ground: TFM Darlington Arena
Manager: Dave Penny
Nickname: The Quakers
Season Finish 2005/06: 8th (Coca-Cola League Two)

Previous Meetings:

It is infact a full 16 seasons since Tranmere and Darlington last met, in the old Fourth Division in the 1988/89 season.

In this season, John King's Tranmere did the double over The Quakers, as they defeated Darlington 2-1 in the North-East on April 1st (the last time the two sides met) after beating Darlington 2-0 at Prenton Park just before Christmas on December 16th.

Vital Stats:

Rovers and Darlington were in the same division for 12 consecutive seasons between 1946/47 and 1957/58

The last time Rovers played on Halloween they defeat Leeds United (then of the Premiership) 3-2 in the 3rd Round of the League Cup, coming from 2-0 down at half-time to score the winner in Extra-Time

Tranmere have won 23 out of 42 meetings between the two sides at Prenton Park

In a total of 83 matches, the two sides have only previously met once in a cup competition, with Darlo running out 3-1 winners at Prenton Park

Tranmere have only lost one of seven meetings between the two sides in October

The Form Book:

Tranmere Last 6 Home Games: WLDDWW
Darlington Last 6 Away Games: DDLDWL

Darlington's away form this season has been very inconsistent, as in the league so far, they have played eight, won two, drawn three and lost three.

In their last six league games, The Quakers have picked up six points from a possible 18, thanks to one win, three draws and two defeats.

Most recently, The Quakers drew 0-0 with local rivals Hartlepool United at Victoria Park, the fourth game of a recent four match run without an away win, also including draws with league newcomers Hereford United (1-1) and Shrewsbury Town (2-2) and a 1-0 defeat to Mansfield Town.

Before that, Darlo beat Peterborough 3-1 and Accrington Stanley 2-0, whilst losing against relegation threatened Boston 4-1 and promotion chasing Walsall 1-0.

In the cups, Darlington have managed to beat Championship outfit Stoke City2-1 in the Carling Cup, before being knocked out in the second round by Premiership side Reading. After the game finishing 3-3 following extra-time, The Quakers lost 4-2 on penalties.]

Darlington are yet to play a Johnstone's Paint Trophy game, after they recieved a bye in the first round.

Tranmere finally got back on track in the league with a win over Bournemouth at Prenton Park on Saturday, with Kevin Ellison scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win over The Cherries.

Prior to that, Rovers had picked up just two points from their last three home games, drawing 0-0 with Nottm Forest and 2-2 with Huddersfield (after leading 2-0), whilst losing 2-1 on a Friday night against Port Vale.

However, Rovers had a great start to the season, especially at Prenton Park, where they won all four of their opening games.

Firstly, Oldham Athletic were beaten 1-0 thanks to a Chris Greenacre header, whilst Yeovil Town (2-1), Leyton Orient (3-0) and Bristol City (1-0) were then all sent home empty handed as Rovers only conceeded one goal in their opening five home games.

In the first round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, Rovers dispatched of Bury, beating The Shakers 2-0 at Gigg Lane thanks to goals from Chris Shuker and Steve Jennings.

Double Hit:

One person who has featured heavily in the recent past for both Darlington and Tranmere Rovers is Brian Little, who was pipped to the available manager's post at the Darlington Arena by Dave Penny on Monday.

Little was manager at Darlington between February 1989 and May 1991, when he moved on to Leicester City in Division 1.

The north-east born Little took charge of 75 Darlington games, winnings an impressive 31 of them, a win percentage of 41.3%. The other 44 games saw Darlington draw 26 and lose 18

After moving on to Leicester, Aston Villa, Stoke City, West Brom and Hull City, Brian Little found himself installed as Tranmere manager on October 12th 2003 and he stayed on Merseyside until May 4th 2006, when he left Tranmere by mutual consent after saving the club from relegation.

He was incharge of 147 Tranmere games, winning 61 of them, a win percentage of 41.5%, very close to the figure at Darlington.

However, Little also saw his Tranmere side lose 43 games and draw 43 games, of which most were in his final season when Rovers just managed to keep their place in Coca-Cola League One.

In his time at Prenton Park, Little guided Tranmere to The 2003/04 F.A. Cup Quarter Final and 2004/05 LDV Vans Trophy Northern Section semi-final, along with a place in the 2004/05 play-offs, before Tranmere eventually lost on penalties to Hartlepool.

Team News:

Ronnie Moore is expected to make a number of changes to the Tranmere side, with doubts hanging over Kevin Ellison, Chris Greenacre and Ian Goodison.

Calvin Zola, Robbie Stockdale, Paul McLaren and Ollie James are definate none-starters, as is on-loan John Thompson, who has already represented Nottm Forest in the competition.

John Achterberg, Danny Harrison, Carl Tremarco, Steve Davies and one of Jason McAteer and Steve Jennings are expected to be handed a starting place, whilst either of Mike Jones and Craig Curran could feature for the first time this season.

Jones' Prediction: Tranmere 3-0 Darlington