The Reds are back on the road tomorrow as we travel to promotion hopefuls, Tranmere Rovers, who sit in fourth place in the Sky Bet League Two table in the lead up to tomorrow’s 3pm kick-off at Prenton Park, over four months after the reverse home fixture in a game we won 4-0 in an unbelievable overall performance at The People’s Pension Stadium, with goals from Max Watters, Tom Nichols, Jordan Tunnicliffe and Tyler Frost.
After suffering defeat in Grimsby ten days ago, the Reds turned on the style to comfortably beat promotion hopefuls Exeter City in West Sussex with a fantastic display last Saturday. Crawley were certainly on top of the visitors in terms of chances before the Grecians went down to ten-men in the second-half following a Tom Parkes red card, and straight away John Yems’ men increased the pressure which saw a penalty awarded for a foul on Nick Tsaroulla, who had returned to make his first start for a month.
Tom Nichols calmly converted the spot-kick twenty minutes before neatly setting up Ashley Nadesan who doubled the lead late on with a tap-in. Half-time substitute Jake Hesketh and Jordan Maguire-Drew impressed going forward and Joe McNerney also stood out at the back, earning himself a place in the EFL team of the week.
We then made the long midweek trip to Morecambe, who also sat in the play-off spots after a solid season so far under Derek Adams, despite a 4-0 loss to us earlier in the season. Both sides played with high energy and intensity from the off, with the scoreline at 1-1 after only 13 minutes, as Ashley Nadesan was alert to equalise after following up on Jordan Maguire-Drew’s curling effort which was deflected into an area that Ashley was alert to pounce into to poke into the back of the net.
The Shrimps impressed in the second-half as Ex-Atletico Madrid academy player, Carlos Mendes Gomes, scored a brace to wrap up the three points for Morecambe, who moved into fifth.
Tomorrow’s opposition have had an extraordinary second-half to the season, after a very disappointing start, which came to an end after losing out 4-0 to the Reds at The People’s Pension Stadium.
Rovers have lost one in their last twelve league games, and have won three consecutive games against promotion-chasing opposition in the lead up to tomorrow’s game, defeating Carlisle United, Leyton Orient and Newport County.
We will always remember the emphatic 4-0 victory over Tranmere earlier in the season, but in recent history against tomorrow’s opponents the score-lines have been more mixed.
Before spending last season in League One, already promoted Tranmere fell to a 3-1 loss in West Sussex on the final day of the 2018/19 season, with goals from Ashley Nathaniel-George, Filipe Morais and Panutche Camara.
Yet earlier that season things weren’t quite as easy, as Crawley lost 5-1 in October 2018 after falling five behind after 60 minutes in a miserable afternoon up north.
In our last seven against the Super White Army, the games have averaged 4.4 goals, with there never being less than two goals in these recent meetings. Both teams have scored in four of these contests.
With the recent injury to James Vaughan, experienced striker David Nugent is likely to lead the line for Tranmere after making his first start in their last league game against Newport County. Nugent is well-known for his long spells at Portsmouth, Leicester City, Middlesbrough and Derby County, and has a fantastic goal scoring record across all four divisions throughout his career.
Tranmere have another experienced head in their team in defender Peter Clarke. The 39-year-old has been omnipresent in the heart of the Lilywhites defence this season and will join the likes of George Ray at the back.
Ex-Liverpool and Bolton midfielder Jay Spearing has also been a key figure this season in the middle of the park. Jay has two UEFA Champions League appearances to his name as well as nine in the Europa League.
Reece Grego-Cox, Henry Burnett, Tom Dallison and Tony Craig remain unavailable. Sam Matthews is also out after suffering an injury against Grimsby Town.
HOW THEY BET*
Tranmere Rovers 19/20
Crawley Town 13/5
*Odds correct with EFL partners Sky Bet at the time of writing. Please gamble responsibly.
You can watch the match live on iFollow from 2:50 with coverage from Harry Maynard and Ken Blackmore.
You can purchase a match pass for £10 by clicking here.