Oldham v Tranmere Match Preview

Ronnie Moore comes up against one of his old teams on Saturday as Rovers make the trip to Boundary Park to play Oldham Athletic for the second successive season in February.

Oldham are flying high under new manager John Sheridan whilst Rovers, who themselves have only been under the leadership of Ronnie Moore for 7 months, have also had a good season after last years failure under Brian Little, despite a recent slump.

Oldham Team Profile:

Formed: 1899

Ground: Boundary Park

Manager: John Sheridan

Nickname: The Latics

Season Finish 2005/06: 10th (Coca-Cola League One)

Previous Meetings:

There was a lot of interest behind Tranmere Rovers fixture with Oldham Athletic on the opening day of the 2006/07 season at Prenton Park, as Ronnie Moore led Rovers out against the club who had sacked him two months previous for “financial reasons”.

After all their abuse for Rovers appointing Moore as their new manager, Latics fans were made to eat a bit of humble pie, as Rovers won the game 1-0 thanks to a goal from striker Chris Greenacre in the 24th minute, a header from a Chris Shuker cross, right in front of the Cowshed end of the ground, full of Oldham fans.

Vital Stats:

Oldham have won 20 out of 37 matches between the two sides at Boundary Park

The Latics are unbeaten in seven at their home venue against Rovers

In a total of 71 matches between Oldham and Tranmere, there have been 221 goals

Last season on February 3rd Rovers beat Huddersfield Town 2-1 at Prenton Park thanks to goals from Carl Tremarco and Delroy Facey

Rovers have lost seven out of their previous 12 games on February 3rd

The Form Book:

Oldham last 6 home matches: LLWWDW
Tranmere last 6 away matches: LLDDDD

Things are looking up for Oldham after a slow start to the season which saw them score just two goals in their opening six matches.

In their last six home games, Oldham have picked up an impressive 10 points (15 available), this despite losing their last two at Boundary Park to Bristol City (3-0) and Wolves (2-0).

Previous to the defeat to Wolves however, The Latics had got quite possibly the second most un-predictable result of the season as they battered Nottingham Forest 5-0 at Boundary Park, second only to Scunthorpe's 4-0 win over the same opponents at the City Ground earlier in the season.

The Latics defeated Northampton Town 3-0 previous to this win over The Tricky Tree's, this following a 1-0 win over Crewe and a draw with Brighton and Hove Albion (1-1).

Other notable results at Boundary Park for Oldham this season see them having defeated Bradford City (2-0), Swansea City (1-0), Scunthorpe United (1-0) and Gillingham (4-1).

For Rovers, this will be the second away game on the spin following their 2-0 defeat to Gillingham in front of the Sky TV camera's eight days previous, and they will be looking to avoid their third consecutive defeat on the road after Bristol City came from 2-0 down to beat Rovers 3-2 at Ashton Gate previous to the Gills game.

Rovers are in fact six away games without a win, with their four previous games to the two defeats ending in draws against Nottingham Forest (1-1), Huddersfield (2-2), Brentford (1-1) and Scunthorpe (1-1) as Rovers came from behind in three of those four games to earn a point.

Other notable results on the road for Tranmere this season see them having picked up three points at Chesterfield (2-0), Brighton (1-0) and Northampton (3-1) along with a credible 0-0 draw at The Liberty Stadium against Swansea.

Double Hit:

Many players have played for both Tranmere and Oldham down the years, with one such being Rovers legend Clint Hill, currently playing for Stoke City.

Hill started his career at Prenton Park as a central defender under the management of John Aldridge and grew up playing alongside the likes of John McGreal and Dave Challinor.

He made his first appearance for Rovers in 1997 as a trainee and stayed at the club until the end of the 2001/02 season when he left the club for Oldham after Dave Watson failed to renew the defenders contract.

Hill is a ferocious tackler and also a great header of the ball which was what made him such a success at Prenton Park. He made 140 league appearances under Aldridge and Watson in total, scoring 14 goals as well as four goals in 30 cup appearances.

The most important of his goals was surely one against Bolton Wanderers in the league cup semi-final at the Reebok Stadium in 2000, when Hill's back post tap in put Rovers 1-0 up going into the second leg.

Hill left Rovers for Oldham in 2002 for £250,000 but spent just 12 months at Boundary Park and left in July 2003 after 25 appearances and one goal (against Tranmere) due to financial reasons.

Hill joined Stoke City from Oldham for £120,000 and remains in the Potteries today. He has so far made 79 appearances for Stoke, including three goals, despite a badly broken leg a couple of seasons ago.

One To Watch:

Ronnie Moore should know all about the Oldham squad and especially Chris Porter who has been banging in the goals for The Latics this season.

The Wigan born striker started off his career with Bury in 2003 and stayed with the club until 2005 when he was snatched up by Ronnie Moore for an undisclosed fee at Oldham.

Whilst with Bury, the 6.01 foot tall Porter made 71 appearances for the club in the league, hitting the back of the net on 18 occasions, as well as two goals in seven cup appearances which was enough to convince Moore to sign Porter who was then 21.

Now 23, Porter has been on the books at Oldham for 18 months and has so far made 61 appearances for the club, of which 54 have been in the league, bringing a return of 25 league goals and three in the cup.

It has however only been this season when Porter has become a favourite at Boundary Park. Last season the striker managed just nine of those 28 goals in a total of 36 appearances, but already this season the Oldham number nine has scored 19 goals in 25 appearances.

Porter is a striker who obviously has an eye for goal and has so far this season scored some top drawer goals to go with his regular finishes from inside the six-yard box, something which is so valuable in the lower leagues.

Team News:

For Tranmere, doubts hang over Ian Goodison (leg), Carl Tremarco (calf) and Calvin Zola (hamstring). Joe Hart has returned to Manchester City and therefore Ronnie Moore will have to choose between Gavin Ward and John Achterberg as to who will play in goal.

Jones' Prediction: Oldham 1-0 Tranmere