By Josh Roberts
Both sides will be hoping form counts for nothing as League One Peterborough host National League Tranmere in the first round of the FA Cup.
The home side ended a run of five league matches without a win after overcoming top-of-the-league Shrewsbury 1 – 0 at the weekend. Tranmere, similarly, ended a poor run of their own when they comfortably beat Halifax Town 4 – 2 on Saturday.
The FA Cup always throws up the off cup upset and Tranmere will be hoping they can cause a shock against the side 54 places above them in the football pyramid.
Peterborough have the luxury of having no addition injury concerns going into this weekend’s fixture. The only player on the treatment table for the Posh is Junior Morias who is a long term absentee and is expected back in the New Year.
Alex Penny returns to the match-day squad, after recovering from illness that kept him out of last weekend’s victory.
Tranmere on the other hand have a whole host of first team stars missing due to long term injuries. Ben Tollitt, Jake Kirby, James, Wallace, Jack Dunn and Elliott Rokka are still on the side-lines for the Super White Army.
It’s not just injuries keeping Rovers players out, Jay Harris is suspended and new signing Devarn Green is cup-tied so his wait for a debut continues.
View from the Dugout
Peterborough United Manager Grant McCann: “Tranmere are a good side, they have goals in their line-up and they have picked up in results after a slow start to their league campaign.
“We know that we will have to perform to get ourselves into the second round and all of our focus this week has been on this tie. We will not be taking the opposition lightly.
“It is about us though, the focus is on what we do and how we can affect the game.”
Tranmere Rovers Manager Micky Mellon: “Whatever time we go down to play Peterborough, we know it’s going to be a tough game. But it’s certainly a game we’re looking forward to and will give us a measurement of where we are as a team against a side with very good League One players.
“We’ll go down there and give it everything we’ve got. We’ve watched Peterborough and identified where we think their threats are.
“The teams in the National League are strong and the gap between us and League clubs on a one-off game wouldn’t be massive, because we’re full-time.
“But it’s a one-off game, our players will be fired up for it and we’ll give a good account of ourselves and hopefully get a result.”
Peterborough United vs Tranmere Rovers – Last Time Out
Tranmere last faced Peterborough in 2014 back in the League One days for Rovers. It wasn’t a day to remember for the travelling Super White Army as The Posh ran out comfortable 3 – 0 victor’s in the end.
Britt Assombalonga opened the scoring after five minutes when he was brought down in the box to earn his side a penalty. The striker dusted himself off to step up and convert to give his side an early lead.
The away side carried on trying to find an equaliser that wouldn’t come and the game was only taken out of reach when Nicky Ajose doubled United’s lead.
Assombalonga completed the score-line when he increased his personal tally on the day to two goals three minutes from time to confirm the three points for Peterborough.
Full Time: Peterborough United 3 – 0 Tranmere Rovers
Josh Roberts: 2 – 2
This is a tough game to call as the recent league form of both sides is below the standard required for both clubs. Tranmere arguably put their best performance of the season in at the weekend and will buoyed by that. You can’t discount Peterborough at all however, and their higher league status will play a part in the fixture against the non-league Rovers.
Joel Lampkin: 0 – 2
Following a fine result against Halifax, the lads should be in high spirits and that pressure should be lifted. However the FA Cup is a whole other ball-game, with Peterborough the opposition, superstition may play a big factor for some fans but with a number of players hitting form, now is a good time as any to shake the curse.
Peter Tscherewik: 1 – 1
Micky Mellon’s side will be pumped up for this match, and although Peterborough United will be a stern test for Rovers, the players will just about hang on for a draw on the day to earn a reply on home soil in a few weeks.
George Williamson: 3 – 1
Tranmere still can’t buy a win against Peterborough, who will have no trouble dispatching the non-league side. A valiant effort but one that will see them come away empty handed.