Today’s the day, a fixture many supporters have been looking forward to since the fixtures were released in June; Tranmere’s trip to the Stadium of Light to take on Sunderland.
A big club, with a great stadium and passionate fanbase, an awayday at Sunderland is certainly one to look forward to.
But our last visit to Wearside was somewhat of a nightmare, and I can’t help thinking of some similarities between then and now.
Some of you reading this will be too young to remember the game I’m referring to. It was back in August 1998, a harrowing 5-0 defeat.
It was a rather one-sided 90 minutes with the home side dominating from start to finish, tucking away their chances and making the most of a somewhat weakened Rovers lineup.
We had a number of injuries in one area of the pitch at that time, in defence. Alan Morgan began the game partnering John McGreal at the heart of the Rovers rearguard, before McGreal limped off after just 20 minutes.
Tranmere were already a goal behind at that stage, when 18 minutes later, his replacement and debutant Ian Sharps suffered a similar fate and had to be substituted. Not the ideal debut for a young player, but Sharpy had a decent career on the back of that first game.
The game also saw just the second career appearance of one Jason Koumas. Again, he didn’t have a bad career either! Oh, and a certain Micky Mellon was also involved, in the heart of the Tranmere midfield.
Having endured the experience that day, hopefully there will be a much more positive outcome this time around.
We may have a number of key players missing, but we have much more experienced cover unlike that Saturday afternoon 21 years ago.
And it’s third time lucky, right? So after 3-0 and 5-0 losses in our two visits to the Stadium of Light, this time a victory?