By Peter Tscherewik
Tranmere Rovers will take the long trip down south to face Sutton United on Saturday and will be hoping to extend their three-game unbeaten run in the Vanarama National League.
Sutton have been one of the high flyers for much of the season so far and are only two points behind table toppers Wrexham in second place. The U’s come into this fixture off the back of 1-0 home victory against Truro City in the FA Trophy.
Micky Mellon will be pleased to have Larnell Cole available for selection having recovered from an ankle injury, while Liam Ridehalgh will be assessed having recently returned to training.
Jake Kirby is ready for a return to first team action and Ben Tollitt is likely to return after the new year. James Wallace and Jack Dunn are both sidelined with lengthy injuries.
Dean Beckwith is definitely unavailable for Sutton and midfielder Kenny Davis is a late doubt ahead of this weekend’s clash.
The hosts will be boosted by the return of Aswad Thomas who has recovered from a virus, while Adam Coombes is available after returning from his loan spell at Hampton & Richmond.
Tranmere crashed out of the FA Trophy at the hands of Solihull Moors on Monday, albeit at the second time of asking following a floodlight failure last Saturday.
Prior to that Micky Mellon’s side had been in good form, having won each of their last three matches at Prenton Park. In their last five matches the Super Whites have picked up ten points which has seen them rise to ninth place in the league table.
Sutton have had a bit of a mixed bag in their last five domestic matches, (won three, lost two) but they remain eight points ahead of the visiting Tranmere who have played one game less than the U’s.
Paul Doswell’s side were lucky not to have faced an FA Trophy replay with Truro, and had Craig Dundas to thank for his 89th minute goal that sent them through to the second round.
Tranmere have only won two out of 11 away matches this season but will be hoping to overcome that poor record at Gander Green Lane this weekend.
In terms of the amount of goals scored per match, Tranmere sit 23rd with an average per 90 minutes of 2.00. Sutton are ninth with 2.63, while Leyton Orient top the chart with 3.00. League leaders Wrexham are bottom of the pile at an average of only 1.71!
(Stats provided via Soccerway)
Sutton United vs Tranmere Rovers: Last Time Out
The last time the two sides met was back in the third weekend of this 2017-18 season.
Manager Micky Mellon selected a side that is likely to be very different to the one put out at Gander Green Lane with James Alabi, Andy Mangan and Jack Dunn all featuring for the Rovers.
The match itself was a fairly drab affair with the result being decided by a Craig Dundas goal just after the half hour mark. Tranmere were very much favourites to win the contest but ultimately couldn’t deliver in front of a roaring Prenton Park crowd.
Rovers made attacking substitutions and pressed for a late equaliser but the visitors held firm to keep out the Super Whites, travelling back down south with a valuable away win.
Full time: Tranmere Rovers 0-1 Sutton United
Josh Roberts: 2-1
Tranmere’s home form has been superb of late but are without a win in their last six away matches in all competitions. Expect that trend to continue here against high flying Sutton who sit second in the table. Rovers will certainly be competitive but the U’s will have too much on the day.
Joel Lampkin: 0-1
Tranmere and Micky Mellon will have lost no sleep over the FA Trophy exist as their real intentions lie domestically. The stigma that the Super Whites are too big for the National League has yet to be proven given their position in the league. A win would do them wonders and show a real statement of intent, although whether the can do that remains to be seen.
Peter Tscherewik: 1-1
Tranmere will be looking to get back to winning ways after their shock FA Trophy exit to Solihull United and with more players returning to training by the week the outlook is good for Micky Mellon. Rovers have been in decent form domestically of late and will be hoping to improve their away record with a positive result against Sutton United. The U’s looked vulnerable against Leyton Orient but expect this one to end all square.
George Williamson: 1-1
Rovers have been very up and down this season, highlighted more so than during the rearranged FA Trophy fixture against Solihull United. Depending on which version of the side shows up on Saturday, they seem like decent value for three away points, but you just can’t rely on this Tranmere side at the moment.