Phil Parkinson’s side head to the Wirral tonight hoping to take all three points in the Max Power derby.
Sunderland’s chase for promotion hit a speed bump on Friday night as Darren Moore’s Doncaster Rovers blunted the Lads’ attack and took a point back to Yorkshire. A win over Tranmere, however, would get the Lads back on track.
Tranmere had a brief rest from their League One struggles, taking on two Premier League outfits in the FA Cup this past week.
An extra-time winner for Rovers over Watford made for a special night on Merseyside, but they were soon brought back down to earth as they were crushed 6-0 by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United on Sunday.
Prenton Park has not been a happy hunting ground for Sunderland over the years, with the club winning only once in nine visits. Can the Lads pick up all three points tonight, though?
On the performance against Doncaster:
First half we were 100 miles an hour without and with the ball, second half we added composure, got in some great positions but couldn’t find a goal.
Credit to Doncaster, they stiffened up the midfield area, we just needed to add that composure and we got into some fantastic positions.
They did defend well. Very solid and resolute in everything they did, but equally I thought we concentrated at the back very well. We have to make sure the back door is shut and we don’t lose it, the concentration levels were great by our men at the back.
We go into a big week for us now on the road with a point. We had good elements to our play, in that first period when we were not at our best, we had to make sure we defended properly and we restricted them.
On Aiden McGeady departing the club:
With Aiden, I just wanted to give him and his agent plenty of time to find a move in the January window.
I think there will be people looking to take Aiden before the window closes, and then he’s got to then pick the right challenge that suits him as well.
Friday’s night game wasn’t exactly edge of the seat stuff, but with Sunderland picking up a third clean sheet on the bounce, we’re unlikely to see Bailey Wright or Tom Flanagan dislodge Joel Lynch in the back three.
Kyle Lafferty could be in line for his full debut after a goalless fortnight from Charlie Wyke, whilst Duncan Watmore is likely to miss out through injury.
New signing Josh Scowan will be in the squad after he signed late Monday evening, but will likely have to be content with a place on the bench.
View From The Opposition
It’s been a tough old season for Tranmere boss Micky Mellon. His side occupy the third relegation spot, three points behind MK in 20th, with only one league win in 10.
However, with two games in hand on Russell Martin’s side, Mellon will see tonight’s game as one that could act as a springboard for a successful second half of the season, and will hope his team are ready to bounce back from their Man United mauling live on the beeb.
Tranmere’s squad is at full strength, with striking duo Morgan Ferrier and Paul Mullin both fit after recent Sniggles.
Last Time We Met At Prenton Park
How can you forget?
Sunderland, who have never had a good record at Prenton Park, succumbed to a second defeat in a year in the Wirral as Tranmere knocked Premiership Sunderland out of the FA Cup in the most controversial of fashion.
A full strength Sunderland had gone behind in the 25th minute thanks to evergreen Wayne Allison’s diagonal volley, but the real drama came in injury time, when referee Rob Harris sent off Clint Hill.
As Hill trudged off, the Merseyside club brought on a substitute for him, with Stephen Frail entering the play, and proceeding to defend a late Sunderland free-kick.
Initially play continued, but it did not take long for Peter Reid and his coaching staff to realise - although by the time the officials had noticed that Tranmere still had 11 men on the pitch, the game had degenerated into chaos, with both benches embroiled in a fierce row.
Tranmere held on and, despite an FA investigation, progressed into Round Four.
Venue: Prenton Park, Tranmere
Referee: Antony Coggins
Current position: 21st
Last season position: 6th (won play-off final)
Last 5 results:
(L1) Doncaster Rovers (H) 0-0
(L1) MK Dons (A) 1-0
(L1) Wycombe Wanderers (H) 4-0
(L1) Lincoln City (H) 3-1
(L1) Fleetwood Town (A) 1-1
(FA) Manchester United (H) 0-6
(FA) Watford (H) 2-1
(L1) Ipswich Town (H) 1-2
(L1) Southend United (A) 0-0
(FLT) Leicester City u21s (H) 1-2
The Lads on the Wirral
8th Jan 2000 - Tranmere Rovers 1-0 Sunderland
26th Dec 1998 - Tranmere Rovers 1-0 Sunderland
3rd April 1998 - Tranmere Rovers 0-2 Sunderland (Summerbee, Phillips)
24th Jan 1998 - Tranmere Rovers 1-0 Sunderland
5th May 1996 - Tranmere Rovers 2-0 Sunderland
Top goalscorers (in all competitions)
Stefan Payne (4)
Connor Jennings (4)
Morgan Ferrier (4)
Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (4)
Kieron Morris (3)