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Match Previews

PREVIEW: Sky Blues Face New Year's Day Trip To Tranmere

City are hoping to claim back-to-back away wins in the league...

31 December 2019

The Sky Blues take on Tranmere Rovers, looking to avenge their defeat to Rovers back in October. Here’s everything you need to know about our opponents.

Fact File

Name: Tranmere Rovers

Founded: 1884

Stadium: Prenton Park (first opened 1912)

Capacity: 16,587

Nickname: Super White Army; The Whites; Rovers

Address: Birkenhead, Prenton Road West, CH42 9PY

Pitch Size: 112 x 71 yards

Prenton Park.jpg

The Opposition

Tranmere currently occupy 20th position in Sky Bet League One, sitting outside of the relegation zone on goals scored, but have a game in hand on the side below them.

Rovers edged out the Sky Blues when the two sides met in front of the Sky cameras back in October but have only won twice more since then. They’ve scored 26 and conceded 39 goals in their 22 matches and have won just once in their last seven league outings.

Tranmere’s squad has plenty of firepower, with forwards Morgan Ferrier, Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and Stefan Payne all on four league goals. They also have plenty of threat from midfield with Connor Jennings and Ollie Banks on three league goals each, whilst towering defender Manny Monthe has chipped in with four assists.

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Manager

Micky Mellon made over 150 appearances during his playing career for Tranmere before later taking charge of the Whites as manager in 2016.

His first managerial stint was with Fleetwood Town from 2008-2012 and led the club into the Football League, for the first time in their history, during his four-year spell at the club.

He earned promotion via the play-offs from the National League North in 2009/10, having been bottom of the table when he took over in September of the previous campaign.

Two seasons later in 2011/12, having lost to AFC Wimbledon in the play-offs in their first season in the National League, Mellon guided Fleetwood into the Football League after attaining 103 points in a remarkable season for the club.

He departed the club in December 2012 with Fleetwood fourth in League Two, a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for The Cod Army given where they were when Mellon took over in September 2008.

Mellon returned to the dugout in May 2014 when he was appointed as the new manager of Shrewsbury Town who had just been relegated to League Two.

The 47-year-old earned promotion back to the third tier at the very first attempt, finishing as runners-up to Burton Albion, before then keeping them in the division the following season.

He departed New Meadow in October 2016 to take the reigns at National League side Tranmere and has enjoyed huge success with the Merseyside club.

The Scot has won back-to-back promotions in his two full seasons at the helm, both via the play-offs, meaning he has achieved promotion five times as a manager.

Tranmere Rovers Fans.jpg

Last Six Games

Drew – Tranmere Rovers 1-1 Blackpool

Lost – Burton Albion 4-2 Tranmere Rovers

Won – Tranmere Rovers 1-0 AFC Wimbledon

Lost – Lincoln City 1-0 Tranmere Rovers

Drew – Tranmere Rovers 1-1 Accrington Stanley

Won – Tranmere Rovers 3-2 Manchester United u21s (Leasing.com Trophy)

Last Meeting vs Tranmere Rovers.jpg

Last Time We Met

The two sides last met back in October with Tranmere edging out the Sky Blues 1-0 at St Andrew’s, in a game played in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

City started on the front foot with Liam Walsh chipping a delicate ball through to Jordy Hiwula with the forward’s volley landing on the roof of the net.

The Sky Blues were then unfortunate not to win a penalty when Walsh’s whipped cross appeared to strike the arm of a Tranmere defender inside the penalty area, but referee Darren Drysdale was unmoved.

City’s dominance continued into the second half when Zain Westbrooke’s quick feet set-up Matty Godden for a chance only for the striker to fire his effort over the crossbar.

Jordan Shipley then slipped Godden in for another chance minutes later, with the striker curling his effort past the goalkeeper and onto the post before bouncing to safety.

Tranmere grabbed an unlikely winner on 83 minutes when Corey Blackett-Taylor finished well from Kieron Morris’s flick-on.

Head-to-Head Record

Sky Blues Wins – 7

Draws – 3

Tranmere Wins – 11

Club Connections

Declan Drysdale.jpg

Declan Drysdale

Current Sky Blues defender Declan Drysdale signed for City from Tranmere in January 2019.

Drysdale made two appearance for Rovers, making his debut as a 17-year-old in the National League, having also featured in the club’s promotion winning season to League Two in 2017/18.

The centre-back made his Sky Blues debut against Southampton u23s in the Leasing.com Trophy in November before then making his league debut when he started in the 2-1 win against Rochdale later that month.

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Sean Flynn

Birmingham born midfielder Sean Flynn began his professional career with the Sky Blues before enjoying in a two-year spell with Tranmere later in his career.

Flynn arrived at City from Halesowen Town in December 1991 and would go on to make over 100 appearances for the club, the majority of which came in the top-flight over a four-season spell.

After falling out of favour under then newly-appointed Sky Blues boss Ron Atkinson, Flynn joined Derby County and helped the club win promotion to the Premier League in his first season with the East Midlands side.

He would spend time on loan at Stoke City the following season, before joining boyhood club West Bromwich Albion in August 1997. Flynn made over 100 appearances for the Baggies, scoring 10 goals.

Flynn completed a free transfer switch to Tranmere in July 2000 and made 82 appearances for the club, scoring 11 times, during his two seasons at Prenton Park.

He spent the next couple of seasons with Kidderminster Harriers before finishing his career with a host of non-league clubs and then retiring in 2012.

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Match Officials

Will Finnie will be the man in the middle on Wednesday afternoon, taking charge of his 22nd game of the season.

He has officiated in four Sky Bet League One matches, as well as 11 Sky Bet League Two clashes, two Emirates FA Cup ties and four Leasing.com Trophy fixtures.

In the 21 matches he has officiated in this season, Finnie has so far produced 79 yellow cards and two red cards.

This is Finnie’s first season as an EFL referee, having been promoted from the National League last season.

He will be assisted by Joe Simpson and Peter Gooch with Lewis Smith acting as fourth official.


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