nPower League 1
Sunday 24th March
Prenton Park, Prenton Road West, Birkenhead, CH42 9PY
Kick Off: 4pm – Live on Sky Sports
Weather Forecast: Cloudy, 1°c
Referee: G Scott (Oxfordshire)
Mark Roberts’ Stevenage face Tranmere Rovers on Sunday afternoon in a televised League 1 fixture. With this being the first game since the departure of Gary Smith the team will no doubt have a point to prove as they look to get over the midweek loss to Bury by putting in a good performance against their playoff-hopeful opponents.
Last time we met:
A stoppage-time equaliser from Greg Tansey denied League One leaders Tranmere Rovers victory at The Lamex back in November. The visitors came close when defender Ian Goodison, who became the first 40-year-old to play for Tranmere, nodded wide from a corner. But striker Jake Cassidy put Rovers ahead with his 11th goal of the season, heading in a cross from Adam McGurk. Boro sub Robin Shroot hit the post late on, before Tansey's looping shot earned the home side a point.
Boro: Arnold, Gray, Roberts, N’Gala, Charles, Tansey, Grant, Dunne (Shroot), Morais (Freeman), Akins, Haber (Agyemang)
Subs not used: Day, Hills, Rogers, Risser
Tranmere could be without veteran centre-back Ian Goodison through injury after the defender came off injured against Walsall and missed the team’s next fixture against MK Dons. Andy Robinson and James Wallace are out injured whilst the game will also come too soon for Northern Ireland forward Adam McGurk as he recovers from a collapsed lung.
Stevenage could make changes after Tuesday’s disappointing 2-0 defeat at Bury with Robin Shroot and Sam Hoskins both hoping for a rare start. Boro will be without Marcus Haber (international duty), Lee Hills and Filipe Morais (both injured) for this game.
The Tranmere Rovers Scout Report
Tranmere start this game in 7th place with 63 points, having won 18, drawn 9 and lost 12 of their 39 league games so far.
Rovers have recorded just one win in their last five games – that being a narrow 1-0 home victory against Oldham – with three defeats and a draw also in recent weeks. Those defeats have come against Yeovil (0-1), Walsall (0-2) and MK Dons (0-3) with a point being picked up at home to Notts County (1-1).
Ronnie Moore’s men have a decent record at Prenton Park this season with nine wins, five draws and five defeats in front of their own fans in league fixtures, during which time they’ve scored 28 and conceded 18. The only teams to have left Merseyside with all three points have been Doncaster, MK Dons, Carlisle, Shrewsbury and Swindon.
Rovers also have the best form in the league against teams in the bottom half of the table. Of 20 games against teams occupying these positions, they’ve picked up 13 wins and five draws, whilst losing just twice.
Possible Tranmere Rovers line-up for Sunday (4-4-2 formation):
Owain Fon Williams; Danny Holmes, Paul Black, Ben Gibson, Ash Taylor; Max Power, Palmer, Danny Harrison, Zoumana Bakayogo; Mamady Sibibe, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro
Subs from: Abdulai Bell-Baggie, Cole Stockton, David Amoo, Michael Kay, Michael O’Halloran, Paul Corry, Jason Mooney
Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro will be leading the line against Boro on Sunday and will look to add to his current tally of 8 goals this season. The 28-year old striker brings pace, power and an ability to hold the ball up under pressure and will be key to Tranmere’s attacking threat. The former Toulouse player, who also played for Grimsby (8 goals in 56 games) and Rochdale (12 goals in 119 appearances) before arriving at Tranmere last summer, missed three months of the season with a broken metatarsal but has returned to full fitness with his most recent goal being in Rovers’ convincing 5-1 win at Colchester a month ago.