Can injury-hit Rovers trouble Rotherham?


Tranmere Rovers are back in action on Saturday afternoon with a trip to West Yorkshire to take on Rotherham United.

After an enforced gap between matches, due to the Bury fixture being cancelled last weekend, Micky Mellon’s men will be looking to bounce back from a 2-0 defeat against Bristol Rovers 11 days ago.

Not only did the long journey produce no points, but two red cards mean that the Rovers boss has a few selection decisions to make for the visit to the New York Stadium.

Add to that more injury woes, and it’s looking like a really tough game against The Millers.


Paul Warne’s side were relegated from the Championship at the end of last season after finishing in 22nd position in England’s second tier.

They will be looking to bounce back at the first time of asking and, looking at their squad, there is a lot of Championship and League One experience within the ranks to suggest they might have what it takes come May.

A familiar face in the Millers squad is defender Michael Ihiekwe. The centre-back played over 100 times for Rovers over a three-year stay at Prenton Park before moving to the New York Stadium in the summer of 2017.

Now 26 years of age, Ihiekwe has picked up plenty of experience at Championship and League One level and can certainly be considered as one of the best defenders in the division.

Rotherham have been operating in a 4-3-3 system this season and there is plenty of firepower among the front three, whoever gets the nod to start.

In their last fixture, a 1-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in the Carabao Cup in midweek, Warne started with Michael Smith, Kyle Vassell and Freddie Ladapo, but he also has the luxury of Jamie Proctor waiting in the wings should he be required.

The forwards have yet to hit the ground running in terms of goals, but there is plenty of quality in there to cause problems to the Rovers rearguard, and their histories suggests goals will come.

The Millers sit in 14th position in the standings, but it’s not quite a true reflection on them as they’ve only played three league matches this season, winning two and losing one.


As mentioned at the top of this piece, Micky Mellon will need to make a minimum of three changes to the side which started at Bristol Rovers last time out.

Corey Blackett-Taylor and Ollie Banks miss out through suspension, while Morgan Ferrier will sit out having picked up a knee injury which will likely rule the striker out for two months.

The Tranmere boss will also be without the four players who haven’t featured so far this season in Jake Caprice, Evan Gumbs, Mark Ellis and Ishmael Miller, restricting his selection options somewhat.

One player who may well come into the fold is on-loan Chelsea midfielder Jacob Maddox.

The young midfielder has 2-3 weeks of full training behind him and, although clearly lacking match fitness, he could be involved in some way at the New York Stadium.


11 days without a fixture may have been a blessing for Rovers. A chance to regroup after a disappointing result at Bristol Rovers, put some hard yards in on the training ground and use the break to work on things they need to improve on.

It could also work in the opposite way, maybe a lack of sharpness having not played, only after the 90 minutes will we see the effects of the break.

Suspensions to two key players was bad enough, but to have Morgan Ferrier pick up an injury in training during the week is another kick in the teeth.

The only blessing to his misfortune is that we have plenty of cover in the forward positions, and Paul Mullin, Stefan Payne and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy will all be vying for a starting berth.

One of those players can stake a claim for a sustained spell in the side, so hopefully they’ll take it with both hands.

The New York Stadium is a fantastic new stadium, and with brilliant backing from the Super White Army once more, there should be a good atmosphere on Saturday afternoon.

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