Tranmere vs. Hartlepool Match Preview

Valentine's day comes around and for the fourth time in seven seasons, Rovers have a game, for the third time at Prenton Park.

It will be one month to the day that Rovers made the three hour or so journey to Victoria Park where they drew 0-0 in a poor game against Hartlepool and this time Rovers will be hoping for all three points.

The game will, without much doubt, again be hotley contested after the two met in last years play-off semi-finals when Hartlepool went through on a Penalty Shoot Out.

In the league this season, a largely uneventful game ended 0-0. Tranmere had the best of the chances, the best of them falling to Gareth Roberts who had his shot headed off the goal-line and on to the post by the Hartlepool defence.

Chris Llewelyn, the former Wrexham player will line up for Hartlepool, back from suspension after he recieved a straight red card for a horrible two footed lunge on Mike Jackson half way through the first half.

Hartlepool won the first leg at Victoria Park 2-0 btu in the the return leg Rovers turned the tie on it's head, winning 2-0 through Ryan Taylor and David Beresford second half goals but eventually lost on Penalties.

In the League last season, Rovers won both matches, 2-1 at Prenton Park and 1-0 at Victoria Park, Chris Dagnall scored the winning goal on each occasion.

Vital Stats:

Rovers have won 38 of the 55 meetings between the two sides at Prenton Park.

Tranmere have not lost at Prenton Park to Hartlepool since October 6th 1984 (nine meetings since).

In the 55 meetings between the two sides at Prenton Park, Tranmere have scored 133 goals to Hartlepool's 60, over twice as many.

Hartlepool have only managed two goals in their last five visits to Prenton Park.

Every player who scored for Tranmere against Hartlepool last season has now left Tranmere Rovers.

Hartlepool Last 6 Away Games: LDLLDD
Tranmere Last 6 Home Games: DWWDDW

Tranmere are still unbeaten at Prenton Park in 2006, beating Rotherham (3-2) and Huddersfield (2-1) whilst drawing with Southend and Bournemouth (both 0-0).

Hartlepool meanwhile remain unbeaten under new management (two games) but have failed to claim a win away from Vitoria Park since Saturday 26th November, when they won 1-0 at Valley Parade against Bradford City.

Since this win, The Monkey Hangers have played six away games, drawing three and losing three. Two of the draws were 1-1 whilst the other (vs. Rotherham) ended 0-0.

Whilst they have been defeated away to the likes of Yeovil and Oldham of late, they have drawn against higher placed opposition in Barnsley and Swansea, sugguesting they raise their game for the teams placed in and around the promotion spaces.

It will be another tough test for Rovers but one that they should come through. A win is a must if you continue to draw away from home and I think they can manage just that.

Hartlepool have "come good" since suspending manager Martin Allan and are now starting to put a mini run together but only a mini run.

Although Hartlepool lie 6 places below Rovers in 17th place in League One, they are only three points behind Tranmere. However, their goal difference is poor meaning they could only go ahead of Rovers if they won by six clear goals.

Jones' Prediction: Tranmere Rovers 2-1 Hartlepool United

Please Note: Top 15 coming soon (hopefully)