Our preview ahead of the upcoming clash with Tranmere.
Sky Bet League 1
Prenton Park, Prenton Rd W, Birkenhead, Merseyside, CH42 9PY
Weather forecast: Showers, 15 ◦c
Referee: Craig Pawson
Stevenage travel to Tranmere Rovers this weekend looking to build on their last few performances and pick up their second league win of the season. Tranmere are currently level on points with Boro and will be eager to move away from the lower half of the table with a win on Saturday.
Last time we met:
Boro struggled against Tranmere last season, picking up only 1 point against them. The first of the games produced a 1-1 draw at the Lamex, Greg Tansey was the hero as his last minute goal salvaged a point. In the return leg, Tranmere won convincingly as they beat the Boro 3-1. It was the first game since Gary Smith’s departure and times were difficult at the club. Tranmere went ahead after only 10 minutes before Freeman equalised 2 minutes later. Rovers effectively saw the game off by half-time, as Gibson put them ahead before Bakayogo scored his second of the game.
Boro: Arnold, Gray, Charles, Roberts, Ngala, Grant (Tansey), Dunne, Shroot, Akins, Freeman, Lopez.
Subs not used: Day, Iro, Comminges, Jeffrey, Beleck, Hoskins.
Darius Charles is unlikely to feature for Stevenage due to the injury he picked up against Everton. Although the striker and manager are positive about his recovery, next week at Preston is a more likely date for a return to first-team action. There are no fresh concerns ahead of the game so Graham Westley should have a good squad to pick from.
Tranmere have three players out injured and none will be available for Saturday. Jason Koumas, Andy Robinson and James Wallace all missed the Capital One Cup defeat to Fleetwood and will be forced to watch from the stands. Abdulai Baggie is away with Sierra Leone on international duty whilst 'keeper Owain Fon Williams could also be missing as he is away with the Welsh national side.
The Tranmere Rovers Scout Report
Tranmere have had a somewhat stuttering start to the season, only recording the one win and one draw from their first five league games. Rovers picked up their lone win last weekend at Oldham, which they believe can kick-start their season. The biggest worry for the home side is their defensive record, currently the second worst in the league with 13 goals conceded. A 5-0 hammering at home to Peterborough did most of the damage, although conceding 3 at home to Crawley and 3 at Walsall were also significant dents.
There's only two players in the current Tranmere squad who have signed for Boro, and they were both extremely short-term stays at The Lamex. Tranmere youngster James Wallace joined Stevenage for a one month loan last January but failed to make an appearance before he left later that month. Akpo Sodje made 3 appearances and scored 1 goal for Boro way back in 2001 when he was on loan from QPR.
Former Tranmere players who currently ply their trade for the Boro include the currently injured Ben Chorley and Lucas Akins. Chorley made 89 appearances for Rovers between 2007-2009 and was a stalwart in their defence. Akins joined Tranmere in 2010 and made 87 appearances along with scoring 10 goals before moving to Stevenage in 2012.
Tranmere have brought an impressive number of youngsters through the ranks recently, but this raw talent is balanced with experienced pros all over the pitch. In defence, Ian Goodison is still one of Tranmere’s most valuable players at 40 years old. Andy Robinson, 33 has already chipped in with a couple of goals this season but front-man Ryan Lowe is likely to be the biggest threat to Boro’s defence. Lowe is a true football league veteran: Shrewsbury, Crewe, Bury, Sheffield Wednesday and MK Dons are just some of his former clubs before he joined Tranmere this summer. He’s hit the ground running, having already scored 2 goals this season and has a more-than-respectable goal scoring record wherever he’s played.