By Joel Lampkin
After a half-season of highs and lows, Tranmere Rovers secured what may be their most crucial three points of the season against high flying Sutton United.
However, AFC Fylde are no walk in the park as League One side Wigan Athletic found out in the second-round FA Cup tie, but with The Rovers a good a side as any at home, anything other than three points will feel like a defeat.
Tranmere are close to having their full squad back to fitness with James Wallace supposedly two weeks away from a return and Ben Tollitt expected in the new year, although all if quiet on the Jack Dunn front.
It is unknown at this time if any players took any knocks against a tough tackling Sutton, although James Norwood was bloodied during the match but is still expected to feature.
The visitors will be without midfielder Sam Finley who was sent off in their previous fixture, a 1-1 draw against Ebbsfleet United.
Micky Mellons’s side earned their stripes against Sutton in a match that looked like spilling out into all out war at some points, but their sheer quality shown through in two beautiful strikes one from Adam Buxton and the other from Connor Jennings.
Rovers have won their last three League fixtures and are unbeaten in their last four – scoring 12 along the way.
Meanwhile, Fylde have not won a fixture since November 25th, (against Dover) with two cup exits in the month of December (FA Trophy & Cup), and have picked up just five points out of a possible nine in their past three league matches.
Their last fixture, at home to Ebbsfleet saw them scrape a draw as Danny Rowe, the joint leading scorer in the division, scored late on in the 89′ minute to earn a point.
This is the first-time that Tranmere and Fylde have met in National League action, with the club less than 30-years old as it was founded in 1988 originally as ‘Kirkham & Wesham’.
The away side have a habit of scoring late on with their most prolific period between the 75′ and 90′ minute (nine goals) – making the need for The Super Whites to remain switched on all the more crucial.
The visitors have failed to score in just one away fixture this season and with the goalscoring form that Tranmere in, a bet on both teams to score would be good money.
Joel Lampkin: 4-1
The Rovers have come off the back of a huge hard fought win away from home, the quality is undoubtedly there, this is a team on the rise, with Jennings in fine form, Ollie Banks proving his worth, Steve McNulty dragging his side over the line, and Norwood still doing sprints on Christmas day it is hard to see anything other than a dominant win on home soil.
Peter Tscherewik : 2-0
Saturdays away win against high flying Sutton United will have done Micky Mellon’s side the world of good. Three league wins in a row have given Rovers the momentum to make their way into the play off spots, expect the team to register their fourth straight home win against struggling AFC Fylde.