Tranmere Rovers play their first home fixture in three weeks when Gillingham travel north from Kent for a League One fixture at Prenton Park on Saturday afternoon.
The previous scheduled home match against Bury on August 24 was cancelled, with the Shakers subsequently expelled from the EFL, so it has meant a prolonged spell without a fixture at Prenton Park.
In the three weeks since Rovers trounced Bolton Wanderers 5-0 on home turf, Micky Mellon’s men have only had a couple of matches; a 2-0 defeat at Bristol Rovers and a 1-1 draw at Rotherham United.
But this weekend, it’s back to home comforts with Prenton Park having been somewhat of a fortress during the back-to-back promotions of the past two seasons, and that’s something the current side will be looking to continue this term.
Gillingham are managed by Steve Evans and currently sit 16th in the League One standings with five points accumulated from their five league matches to date.
Evans was appointed at Priestfield during the close season having previously been in charge of Boston United, Crawley Town, Rotherham United, Leeds United, Mansfield Town and Peterborough United, racking up close to 1000 matches as a manager.
The Gills come into this game off the back of a 5-0 win over Bolton Wanderers last weekend in their last league fixture. They were in action in midweek in the EFL Trophy, but there were plenty of changes made to the side, so it’s difficult to read too much into that loss to Colchester United.
Before the transfer window closed earlier this week, Evans added former Tranmere loanee Ben Pringle to his squad.
The attacking midfielder played his part in helping Rovers to promotion at the end of last season while on loan from Preston North End, his final appearance being as a substitute in the Wembley play-off final against Newport County in May. It will be interesting to see if he goes straight into the Gills squad for a game against his former club.
Evans has employed a couple of different systems so far this season. A 4-3-3 formation was utilised at the beginning of the campaign, adapting to become a 4-4-2 in more recent matches with a diamond in midfield.
Alex Jakubiak, a striker on loan from Watford, is the man the Rovers rearguard need to keep close tabs on. The 23-year-old has netted three goals in five league appearances this season and his partnership with Brandon Hanlon could cause Tranmere a few problems.
Cameron Borthwick-Jackson could make his Tranmere debut after joining on loan from Manchester United this week. The left-back has trained with his new teammates this week, so is available for selection.
Midfielder Ollie Banks is back following his one-match suspension, while right-back Jake Caprice has returned to training and could be called upon following injury to Kane Wilson.
Injuries still rule out Mark Ellis, Evan Gumbs, Morgan Ferrier and Ishmael Miller, while Corey Blackett-Taylor sits out the second of his three-match ban after a red card against Bristol Rovers.
A point at Rotherham was hard earned last week, and showed great spirit and determination in the manner we got it with a 95th minute equaliser.
As ever, it will be another tough game this week. Gillingham and Steve Evans’ sides are always tough to play against so Rovers will need to be strong and to perform well to get more points on the board.
It will be interesting to see who Micky Mellon selects, with new signing Cameron Borthwick-Jackson coming into contention as well as Jake Caprice coming back from injury.
Hopefully, this is the beginning of the treatment room getting less and less crowded as we get a few players back to full fitness, which will certainly help the team going forward.