By Peter Tscherewik
A disappointing 5-0 defeat vs Peterborough United sent Tranmere Rovers crashing out of the FA Cup last night, with the outcome of the match coming down to individual errors according to manager Micky Mellon.
The Rovers boss was brutally honest in his post-match press conference, as he talked about the injury crisis behind the scenes and the Jay Harris challenge that resulted in a red card.
— Tranmere Talk (@TranmereTalk) November 16, 2017
Speaking about the sending off, Mellon said:
“I think it was a red, yeah. It is difficult because you cannot have it both ways, there have been occasions where players have made challenges like that and come out on the right end of it.
There is no question that the early red card had a massive affect on how the game panned out. Tranmere were comfortably the better side in the first quarter of an hour, before the Super Whites had what can only be described as a treacherous ten minutes.
Danny Lloyd’s two first-half goals followed by the sending off of Harris put the visitors firmly in control of the tie, and left the Prenton Park crowd stunned.
Ollie Norburn was substituted with 73 minutes on the clock, after he couldn’t play any further part. The midfielder had been holding his quad for much of the second-half before he was eventually hauled off, adding yet another body to the Tranmere treatment table.
On the topic of injuries, Mellon had this to say:
“We were having a bit of a head count yesterday and we will be having one tomorrow to try and see who is available, we won’t be making any excuses and we’ll make sure we put a team out there that can be very competitive but we could do with a little less misfortune.”
Today has been a very busy day for the club in terms of loan deals, with one player leaving and one being recalled. Andy Mangan departs, while Evan Gumbs has returned after a spell with Warrington Town.
It will be interesting to see if Mellon slots Gumbs back into the squad immediately, especially after Jay McEveley’s poor performance against Peterborough.
When asked about bringing in more players on loan to replace those that are injured, the manager was quick to point out that it is a difficult process:
“It’s not as easy as that, I think that people think it is but we’ll have a look and see what we can do.”
Despite the poor result, the squad will be looking to bounce back quickly ahead of this Saturday’s away clash with Gateshead. The Peterborough fixture was one where the scoreline flattered the visitors to an extent, and the manager was full of praise regarding the attitude of those involved on the night:
“The one big thing that we can come out of the game with is that the boys kept fighting, showed a lot of spirit but I think you know the quality of these teams that come here is a difficult enough task as it is but when you go down to ten men its even more difficult.”
Gateshead are currently two points below the Super Whites in the National League table, and are unbeaten in their last three domestic fixtures.
If Rovers do beat The Tynesiders, then it is likely that they will move into the playoff places. More importantly, it does appear that the manager’s eyes are now firmly focused on playing out a successful domestic campaign this season:
“The priority now is to be playing teams at our own level and trying to get victories against them. We’ll learn our lessons from this evening and move on very fast.”
He added: “We’ll go up there (to Gateshead) and we know what we’ve quickly got to do is to get recovered, throw a line under tonight and get ready for what will be a massive game for us on Saturday.”