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Match Preview: Tranmere Rovers v Sunderland - all you need to know!

It’s a trip to Merseyside up next as the Lads travel to face Tranmere Rovers on the back of an impressive performance at Harrogate. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of kick-off!

Photo by James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images

Tuesday 27th July 2021

(L2) Tranmere Rovers v Sunderland (L1)


Prenton Park

Kick-Off: 19:00

Match Coverage

TV/Stream: Full live match coverage available via

Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Radio Newcastle (not online)

Don’t forget to follow the blow-by-blow account of the game on the Roker Report Twitter feed (@RokerReport) and check out the player ratings after the full-time whistle at!

Two friendlies and less than two weeks to go until we kick-off the season opener at the Stadium of Light against Wigan on the 7th of August and the signs are promising as we head off to The Wirral after an impressive display at Wetherby Road on Saturday.

However, with this being the first of two games over four days, it’s likely that the Prenton Park fixture could see Lee Johnson field a younger-looking side with a scattering of players who have so far been on the fringe of the friendlies.

The final fixture at the Stadium of Light will presumably be viewed as a precursor to how will approach the visit of Wigan Athletic in League One eight days later and it’s doubtful the manager will attempt that approach twice in four days.

Harrogate v Sunderland - Pre-Season Friendly
Lee Johnson ahead of our friendly with Harrogate Town
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Tranmere’s summer has been all about the return of Micky Mellon; after defeat in the play-off semi-final against Morecambe, it is hoped the reappointed manager can repeat past glories at Prenton Park.

Mellon achieved back-to-back promotions to drag Rovers from the National League up to League One before leaving last summer for Dundee United. After leaving the Scottish Premier League Club by mutual consent once last season had concluded, and with Keith Hill also parting company with Tranmere in May, it was maybe inevitable that Mellon would return.

His first pre-season friendly saw Tranmere beat a much rotated Glasgow Rangers side by a single goal which has been followed up by victories over Stalybridge Celtic and Warrington. If Tranmere look to put out a strong side it could be a good test for some of our younger players looking to impress, as well as the like of Will Grigg and Bailey Wright whose futures may be uncertain.

Coventry City v Tranmere Rovers - Sky Bet League One
Micky Mellon
Photo by Morgan Harlow/Getty Images

Last Time We Met...

Sunday 14th March 2021

Football League Trophy Final


Tranmere Rovers 0-1 Sunderland

(Gooch 57’)

Sunderland: Burge, Power, O’Nien, Flanagan (McLaughlin), McFadzean, Leadbitter, Scowen, Gooch, McGeady, Maguire (Diamond), Wyke Substitutes not used: Matthews, Younger, Neil, Kimpioka, Stewart

Tranmere Rovers: Davies, Khan, MacDonald, Feeney, Clarke, Ray, Woolery, Spearing, Lewis (Blackett-Taylor), Morris (Burton), Lloyd (Nugent) Substitutes not used: Murphy, Ridehalgh, Monthe, Kirby

Sunderland v Tranmere Rovers - Papa John’s Trophy - Final 2021 - Wembley Stadium
Fun times...
Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images

Played for Both

David Kelly

David Kelly started his career at Walsall in 1983 which led to moves to West Ham United and Leicester City before Ossie Ardiles took him to Newcastle United for £250,000 in 1991.

He left in 1993 as they gained promotion to the Premier League to join Graham Taylor’s Wolverhampton Wanderers until 1995, when Peter Reid signed Kelly to give Sunderland that last push towards promotion to the Premier League for the first time.

The Republic of Ireland international striker then went on to have a fairly successful three years at Tranmere after leaving in 1997, before having spells at Sheffield United, Motherwell and Mansfield – finally ending his career at Derry City in 2002.

Since retiring Kelly has had several coaching and assistant manager roles with Tranmere Rovers, Sheffield United, Preston North End, Derby County, Nottingham Forest, Walsall, Scunthorpe United and Port Vale.

Soccer - F.A. Carling Premiership - Newcastle United v Sunderland
David Kelly
Photo by Neal Simpson/EMPICS via Getty Images

John Mullin

John Mullin was one of Peter Reid’s first signings for Sunderland in the summer of 1995, and after making a handful of appearances during Sunderland’s promotion season in 1995-96, Mullin would go on to play ten Premier League games - with a notable contribution of scoring the winner in a 2-1 victory at Roker Park over Manchester United.

He also had the honour of scoring the last ever goal at Roker Park, in the ‘Farewell to Roker Park’ match against Liverpool in 1996.

He left for Burnley in 1999 and after a spell at Rotherham United he made over 50 appearances for Tranmere Rovers between 2006-2008, and is now a coach back at Burnley.

John Mullin scoring a famous winning goal against Manchester United in 1997
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