Tuesday 27th July 2021
(L2) Tranmere Rovers v Sunderland (L1)
TV/Stream: Full live match coverage available via www.safc.com.
Radio: Full live match commentary available via BBC Radio Newcastle (not online)
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.
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.
Last Time We Met...
Sunday 14th March 2021
Football League Trophy Final
Tranmere Rovers 0-1 Sunderland
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
Played for Both
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.
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.