Tranmere are back in action at Prenton Park tonight as Leyton Orient are the visitors in League Two.
Rovers are likely to still have a few players sidelined by the COVID-19 situation which has cost the team a whole host of first team players in the last two matches. While other clubs have postponed their games with less absentees, Tranmere have fought on due to the possibility of a significant point deduction from the EFL.
Despite that, they have performed okay. A superb fight back from 2-0 down to grab a point at Salford just over a week ago was impressive, though the narrow defeat against Newport on Saturday had less positives.
The lack of attacking threat and a general naivety allowed Newport to find success with their drab, direct style of play and all-round ‘gamesmanship’ with match officials. As a result of Joss Labadie’s antics, Rovers will be without Paul Lewis tonight who was shown a red card for a pretty innocuous tackle on Saturday.
That said, Rovers were not really out-played. The defence looked strong and even a man down the midfield coped fine. The lack of an out-and-out, experienced striker was more of a hinderance than anything else.
Lewis’ ban is likely to press Mike Jackson into starting either Liam Feeney or Jack Young, the latter made his debut as a sub on Saturday. Also waiting in the wings for a debut is young striker Sam Smith who joined on loan from Reading.
James Vaughan and Morgan Ferrier are almost certainly still missing tonight, as is Corey Blackett-Taylor, so it will be down to Feeney, Smith and Woolery to present the attacking threat depending on who gets the nod. Youngster Jake Burton should still be on the bench also, so it will be interesting to see who Jackson selects for this one.
After an average start to the campaign – all be it in extenuating circumstances – tonight is the start of a run of matches in which you feel Tranmere must start to pick up some wins. Orient’s visit is the first of three home games from the next four – a couple of victories will propel Rovers back up the table.