Ahhhh, Friday Night Football. It has always been synonymous with Tranmere Rovers and tonight it is back with the visit of Crewe Alexandra for a League Two fixture at Prenton Park.
Friday nights used to be a regular feature at Prenton Park. Indeed, Saturday lunch time show Saint and Greavsie adopted us as their team as they could always show the match highlights from the previous evening’s game.
They are less common these days, mainly because opposition clubs have to agree to it, or TV companies to step in a dictate. Macclesfield Town and Crewe have been the only clubs to agree this term, while BT Sport moved our FA Cup tie with Spurs at the beginning of the year.
Football under the floodlights seems to bring about a special atmosphere. I’m not entirely sure why. It may be because the darkness seems to enclose the atmosphere a bit more, or it feels that way? Or is that just me?!
There have been some incredibly special nights at Prenton Park, not just on Fridays it has to be said. And so with that history, and reminiscing about the good times we’ve had at night matches gone by, adds to the special vibe you get.
On to this evening’s game, and Rovers come into the fixture after breaking back into the play-off zone last weekend with a fantastic 1-0 win away at Exeter City.
That made it three victories in a row for Micky Mellon’s side, who are five games unbeaten at the moment, and it saw James Norwood net his 25th goal of the season. Impressive stats, but ones the squad wish to build upon not simply admire.
With 11 matches to play, starting this evening, Rovers find themselves in a fantastic position sitting sixth in the League Two standings. But it’s tight in and around us, with just six points between Exeter in 5th and Newport County in 12th.
It will be a tough ask, particularly with some of the matches left to play, but Tranmere have a genuine chance of making the end of season lottery. And if you’d have asked many fans at the start of the season for that scenario, they’d have bitten your arm off.
Visitors Crewe Alexandra come into the game off the back of two straight home defeats, to Exeter City and Northampton Town.
In 15th position on 46 points, it seems highly unlikely they will either achieve a play-off spot or face the drop into the National League, marooned in that middle ground which could potentially be dangerous for Rovers tonight.
We’ve all seen teams with ‘nothing to play for’ perform with no fear, shackles off and with freedom, and Crewe could be that tricky obstacle this evening.
David Artell has a relatively young side, with experience added with the likes of Eddie Nolan, Paul Green and Chris Porter.
They’re not the best travellers, managing just two league victories on the road so far this season, although both of those came against top half sides in the form of Stevenage and MK Dons.
Micky Mellon reported no fresh injury concerns ahead of the match, with on-loan winger Kieron Morris the only doubt after he missed last week’s win at Exeter with a muscle strain. He will undergo a late fitness test before kick-off.
So, football under the floodlights. Get down to Prenton Park if you can. It’s sure to be a bumper crowd and a great atmosphere once more.