The Sky Sports cameras are at Prenton Park on Monday night to watch managerless Tranmere Rovers take on Stockport County in a Cheshire derby and a relegation six-pointer.
After sacking John Barnes and Jason McAteer on Friday morning, Tranmere physio Les Parry and reserve team coach Shaun Garnett take charge of the hosts for this match. Rovers fans will be sure to be keeping an eye out for any potential new management team in attendance on Monday night.
In all honesty, I think it was inevitable that Stockport would struggle this season following their administration at the end of last season and the transfer embargo put upon them. Losing a great young manager didn`t help either but they simply couldn`t afford him.
Although Tranmere have a pretty small budget in comparison to other League One sides, they should be doing a lot better than they are at the moment. 8 defeats from 11 league games does not make impressive reading. This match is a good chance for Tranmere to pick up a vital three points.
The Hatters have lost a fair share of their best players in recent years in order to balance the books. The likes of Anthony Pilkington, Liam Dickinson, Ashley Williams and Dominic Blizzard are just four of a number of players who have left Edgeley Park.
Tranmere have also been hit hard by departures with a majority of their squad that came so close to making the play-offs last season leaving to find new clubs. Antony Kay, Danny Coyne, Ben Chorley, Andy Taylor, Steve Jennings amongst a number of players moving on from Prenton Park.
Carl Baker has been outstanding for the Hatters so far this season, netting two hat-tricks against Brighton and Crewe. He recently lost his brother to leukemia but still played for County in the game nearest to the death of his sibling. He has shown great bravery in the face of adversity and must be applauded for doing so.
Stockport have an inexperienced manager in Gary Ablett although he managed the Liverpool reserve side for a fair few years, he had never managed a first team side before taking up the reigns at Edgeley Park in the summer following the departure of Jim Gannon.
It is a game both sides need to win if they are to try to escape from the depths of the League One relegation zone. A win could see Tranmere move level with those just above the bottom four whereas three points for Stockport could see them move up into the safety of mid-table.
Tranmere Rovers Team News:
Marlon Broomes will return after being suspended for the Johnstone`s Paint Trophy game against Bury in midweek. Otherwise, Rovers have no fresh injury worries before this game. Bas Savage remains sidelined with an Achilles problem.
Player to watch: Ian Thomas-Moore
Tranmere`s top scorer this season will be looking to add to his tally of 4 goals for the season against his former club and will fancy his chances against the relatively inexperienced Gianluca Havern.
Stockport County Team News:
Stockport boss Gary Ablett is without Oli Johnson and Matty Mainwaring due to ankle and leg injuries respectively.
Player to watch: Carl Baker
Stockport`s talisman of the season so far. He`s already scored two hat-tricks this season for the Hatters and would love to grab a third or even one goal to take his goal tally to 10 for the season.
Match Facts & Stats
Last Six Games
Moore – 4
Welsh, Curran – 2
McLaren, Shuker, Gornell, Ricketts, Edds, Bain – 1
Baker – 9
Bignall – 3
Johnson, Tansey, Bridcutt, Griffin, Raynes – 1
Last Time Out:
Tranmere 2-1 Stockport
Goals from Gareth Edds and Ian Moore gave Tranmere all three points on a cold night in January. Stockport`s reply came from Michael Raynes in the last minute of injury time after Moore had looked to have sealed the game minutes earlier with a penalty.
Tranmere 3-1 Stockport
I think Tranmere will be strong enough to win this game as Stockport`s defensive frailties show. Ian Thomas-Moore, Michael Ricketts and Chris Shuker to get the goals for Tranmere, Liam Bridcutt with the reply for the visitors.