Tranmere Rovers will be looking to put the disappointment of Tuesday night’s defeat against Oldham Athletic firmly behind them when they travel to Newport County this weekend.
Micky Mellon’s men have had no time to dwell on that result with another game quickly on the back of it, and they’ll be looking to get back to winning ways having seen a seven match winning streak and nine match unbeaten run come to an end at Boundary Park.
The stakes are high. Rovers sit in a promising 5th position in the League Two standings and know that a victory is most likely required if they are to catch MK Dons and Bury in the automatic promotion places.
As for County, they need the three points to try and stay in the mix for a play-off spot in the post-season.
After a great start to the campaign, indeed the first team to defeat Tranmere at Prenton Park in the early stages of the season, County have fallen away someway with some inconsistent form in the last few months.
A possible reason for that may have been their impressive run to the FA Cup Fifth Round. They defeated higher division opposition in the form of Leicester City and Middlesbrough before coming up against Pep Guardiola and Manchester City who beat them at Rodney Parade.
That run caused a stop-start run of league fixtures which perhaps explains the inconsistent run of form since the turn of the year, playing catch up with games in hand. But those results also show what the team is capable of against strong opposition.
And with the potential of a play-off berth still alive for the South Walians, it will surely be a tough test for Tranmere.
Striker Padraig Amond has often been linked with a move to Rovers in the past, but he will line up against Micky Mellon’s side on Saturday.
A regular in the leading goalscorer lists over recent seasons, Amond has had another impressive campaign in front of goal, netting 21 times in all competitions with 13 league strikes.
A lively front man, he showed his quality with a sublime strike against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup earlier this season so he is most certainly a player the Rovers rearguard will have to keep a keen eye on.
Rovers received a blow this week with news that on-loan midfielder Luke McCullough will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. His influence in the heart of the midfield will be missed, but it’s an opportunity for Jay Harris to fulfil that destructor role in front of the back four.
Better news for Micky Mellon was the return to training of striker Ishmael Miller. The big front man has been missing for a couple of months, although this fixture may be too soon for a return to action for the former Manchester City forward.