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Since we last met: Tranmere Rovers

9 February 2024

Club News

Since we last met: Tranmere Rovers

9 February 2024

Tranmere Rovers are a team transformed from the one that played host to Rovers in October.

After picking up just three wins from their opening 16 matches in Sky Bet League Two, Tranmere Rovers certainly a corner with eight victories from their last 14 games.

THE LAST MEETING

Goals from Harrison Biggins and Mo Faal sent Rovers on their way to a fifth win from seven league matches as they saw off Tranmere Rovers.

Biggins put Rovers in front midway through the first half at a rain-soaked Prenton Park before Faal’s fifth goal of the season doubled the advantage early in the second half.

It was a nervy finish for Rovers after Connor Jennings pulled a goal back for the hosts but they held on superbly for a second away triumph of the campaign.

Tranmere: Murphy, O'Connor, Varney, Turnbull, Wood, Morris (Lewis 63), Hendry, Jennings, Saunders, Dennis (Apter 63), Hawkes (Jolley 62). Subs not used: Robson, Belehouan, Pike, Taylor.

Rovers: Jones, Bailey, Anderson, Nixon, Molyneux, Westbrooke, Close (Degruchy 86), Biggins, Broadbent, Faal, Ironside. Subs not used: Lawlor, Flint, Brown, Sotona, Kuleya, Goodman.

TRANMERE'S RECENT FORM

Having taken until Boxing Day to collect a first away win of the season, Tranmere now have three triumphs from their last four road trips – beating Salford City, Harrogate Town and Grimsby Town with the only defeat coming at Barrow.

From the last four outings, Tranmere have won one and drawn one - losing at Barrow and at home to MK Dons. Prior to that run, they had won four consecutive matches.

LAST TIME OUT

Tranmere Rovers 0 Crewe Alexandra 0

Sky Bet League Two, Saturday, February 3, 2024

Tranmere: McGhee, O'Connor, Davies, Turnbull, Wood, Apter (McAlear 83), Walker, Hendry, Morris (Hawkes 77), Jolley (Saunders 65), Jennings. Subs not used: Murphy, Yarney, Norris, Lewis

THE MANAGER

Seemingly key to Tranmere’s about-turn in fortunes was the appointment of Nigel Adkins as manager on a permanent basis after a spell as interim boss. 

The Birkenhead boy joined his hometown side as technical director last summer before working his way downstairs to the dugout.  

A goalkeeper by trade, Adkins started his playing career at Tranmere, making his debut at 17 and going on to feature for both Wigan Athletic and Bangor City. 

It was with Bangor that he moved into management before taking a degree in physiotherapy and moving into that field at Scunthorpe United. Adkins made the rare jump from treatment room to management with Iron – who he guided to promotion to the Championship twice before joining Southampton, taking the Saints from League One to the Premier League. 

Spells with Reading, Sheffield United, Hull City and Charlton Athletic followed before his Tranmere return. 

THE KEY MEN

Goalkeeper – Luke McGee 

The towering 28-year-old came through the ranks at Tottenham Hotspur and had his first taste of senior football with a loan at Peterborough United. He switched to Portsmouth, making 55 appearances, before joining Forest Green Rovers in 2020. McGhee made 110 appearances for Forest Green and claimed the League Two title in 2022 before switching to Prenton Park last summer after a loan spell at Derby County. 

Defender – Tom Davies 

The 31-year-old grew up just down the road from Tranmere in Warrington. Having failed to earn a scholarship with Blackburn Rovers, he dropped into non-league. Impressing at FC United of Manchester, the centre half was snapped up by Fleetwood Town but only got his break in the EFL with a move to Accrington Stanley. Spells with Portsmouth, Coventry and Bristol Rovers followed before moving to Tranmere in 2021. 

Midfielder – Regan Hendry 

The Scottish midfielder made a loan move from Forest Green Rovers permanent last summer and has featured in all but one league match for Tranmere this term. Coming through the ranks at Celtic, the 26-year-old broke through on loan with Raith Rovers – a move made permanent in 2019. He switched across the border in 2021 with Forest Green and helped them to the League Two title in 2022 before joining Tranmere. 

Striker – Connor Jennings 

A bone fide Tranmere legend, the striker rejoined the club last summer, three years after the end of his first spell, which brought 166 appearances and 36 goals – including the winner in the 2019 League Two play-off final. Jennings came through the ranks at Stalybridge Celtic before switching to Scunthorpe United. A stint with Wrexham preceded his first spell with Tranmere and the 32-year-old spent three years with Stockport subsequently. 

HEAD-TO-HEAD 

Tranmere Rovers were formed in 1884 and joined Division Three (North) in 1921 – two years ahead of Rovers. The clubs first met on April 18, 1924 at Prenton Park with the hosts triumphing 3-0. Doncaster won the return match three days later at Belle Vue with Billy Poyntz scoring twice alongside efforts from Sam Cowan and Earl White in a 4-0 victory. 

The teams have met 72 times in the Football League with Doncaster claiming 35 wins to Tranmere’s 18. Remarkably, Tranmere have only won twice in Doncaster. 

The reverse fixture earlier this season saw Rovers triumph 2-1 with goals from Harrison Biggins and Mo Faal. 

TURNED OUT FOR BOTH

Doncaster-born midfielder Mark Rankine played for both clubs. A member of the Rovers U18 side that reached the FA Youth Cup final in 1988, Rankine had already made his senior debut for his hometown club at that point and went on to play 195 matches in Doncaster colours before joining Wolves. After time with Preston North End and Sheffield United, Rankine finished his professional career with two seasons at Tranmere between 2004 and 2006. 

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