Tranmere Rovers: Stutter or Serious?

SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17: Micky Mellon of Tranmere celebrates after his team win the FA Cup Second Round Replay match between Southport and Tranmere Rovers at Haig Avenue on December 17, 2018 in Southport, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Tranmere Rovers burst back into the EFL with a flourish. Sitting in fourth at the start of November, there was an air of optimism about the clubs chances of promotion. However, a poor away record and inconsistency has dragged the Rovers down to tenth.

Stutter or Serious? Analysing Tranmere’s Form

It is important to put things into perspective. The Wirral side are newly promoted and most of their squad is of National League quality. Whilst these players will undoubtedly give their all for the club, they may lack the little bit of quality needed to make it in the Football League.

As well as this, two key players also left for pastures new. Andy Cook, the club’s top scorer for the previous two seasons, left for League One Walsall. The lack of goals and a true ‘target man’ has been an issue for the Rovers (although James Norwood is doing his all to make up for his former strike partner’s absence). As well as Cook, talented central midfielder Oliver Norburn departed for Shrewsbury Town, leaving a gap in the Rovers midfield.

It would be fair to say that these two players have been replaced with limited success. The return of academy product Cole Stockton did not work out and, although Ollie Banks‘ purchase has been lauded, his time on the sidelines due to ill-discipline and injury has left a clear lack of quality in the centre of the park for Rovers.

Not All Bad

Don’t be mistaken though, it is not all doom and gloom for the club. A handful of quality loan signings have boosted the squad’s potential. As well as this, Banks’ return to the side and Norwood’s ability to notch almost every game must give hope to the club. If manager Micky Mellon can decide on the team’s formation going forward, the results will come.

A variety of reasons could be cited to explain Tranmere’s descent down the table but, when looking at their situation from a neutral perspective, tenth in the league at this stage for a newly promoted club is impressive. One only has to look at fellow newcomers Macclesfield Town to see how far Tranmere have come. This does not mean the results are any less disappointing, but exaggeration of the woes facing the club is unnecessary. If the club can kick on within the last months of the season, a playoff position is not out of reach.

Tranmere are enjoying their return to the Football League. Staying there is the target that the manager and chairman have set out, and that looks a certainty.

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