All you need to know ahead of Rovers' visitLuton Town v Tranmere Rovers
Sky Bet League 2
Saturday 15th November 2014, kick-off 3pm
Live commentary on Hatters Player, DiverseFM, BBC3CR and lutontown.co.uk
• Hatters unbeaten in 10 league games (W8, D2)
• Rovers not lost in five in all comps; but not won in L2 since Aug 30
• Head2Head: Town wins: 13, Tranmere wins: 10, Draws: 4
WHO? Tranmere Rovers, aka Rovers, aka the Whites, who hail from Birkenhead, on the Wirral. Rovers were League Cup runners-up in 2000 and reached three FA Cup quarter-finals in 2000, 2001 and 2004. They spent a decade in the Championship and then 13 successive years in League 1 before relegation last term.
IN CHARGE. Micky Adams is the new man at the helm, after taking over from the axed Rob Edwards late in October. The experienced Adams has won promotion four times, with Brighton, Fulham, Leicester and Port Vale.
ALL WHITE? Not quite. Rovers make the journey down to Bedfordshire aiming to end a run of 11 matches without a win in League 2. Not since their 2-1 win over Morecambe on 30th August have the Tranmere faithful celebrated a league victory. And, although Rovers lie in the bottom two as a result of that form, it’s not all doom and gloom: Adams has steadied the ship somewhat – they are unbeaten in five matches in all competitions, winning their last two in the cups.
SINCE WE’VE BEEN GONE…In the time that the Hatters spent outside the Football League Tranmere remained in League 1…until the Town won promotion last season. Rovers spent 13 successive seasons in the third tier before succumbing to relegation on the final day of the campaign in May.
HAVEN’T WE MET BEFORE? Absolutely. The Town hold the sway in the head-to-head record courtesy of just three victories. Only four of the 27 matches between the clubs have ended all square. Rovers have won twice at Kenilworth Road, but just once in League competition. That came thanks to a John Aldridge goal in a 1-0 win in 1995 in the Old Division 1 (now Championship).
THIS TIME ROUND. The less said about Rovers’ start to the season the better. Under rookie boss Edwards, Saturday’s visitors sunk to the bottom of the Football League. But since Adams has arrived at Prenton Park their form has turned. Although they still have yet to win in League 2 since 30th August, they are unbeaten in their last five matches in all competitions, and in the past week they have won twice; in the FA Cup against Bristol Rovers and the JPT against Bury. On the road Rovers have won just once – but that came at league leaders Wycombe. It’s a funny old game.
CLUB CONNECTIONS. Rovers have a former Town man in their midst in the shape of Janoi Danocien, who came through the Hatters’ academy before being transferred to Tottenham. The centre-half never made an appearance for the Town but after joining Spurs in 2010, a year later he left for Aston Villa. He joined Tranmere on loan from the Villans last month. A number of players have played for both clubs: Enoch Shownumi and Paul McLaren are two in particular that spring to mind having enjoyed successful spells at Kenilworth Road and Prenton Park. Then you can add goalkeepers Alec Chamberlain, Ian Feuer and Dino Seremet, and then throw in Stephen O’Leary, George Donnolly and Arnaud Mendy to that list.
DO MENTION. John King. Legendary boss and former Rovers player. King played over 200 times for the club before going onto bring great success to Prenton Park as a manager. He guided Rovers from the fourth tier to the second between 1989 and 1991 and won the Football League Trophy in 1990. Earlier this month a bronze statue of King was unveiled outside Prenton Park.
DON’T MENTION. Liverpool and Everton. Ask any Rovers fan if they’re “Everton or Liverpool” and you’ll be met with a stern face (or worse).
DID YOU KNOW? Rovers’ 13-4 win over Oldham on Boxing Day 1935 remains the highest aggregate scoreline for a game in the Football League.
REF WATCH. Lee Collins is Saturday’s man-in-the-middle. The Surrey whistler has overseen 10 matches this season and dished out 30 yellow cards in that time (including 10 in one game between Portsmouth and Newport), and one red card. It will be the first time he will take charge of a match involving the Hatters.
TOWN TEAM NEWS. The Hatters hope to have Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu back in contention after the midfielder limped out of the 1-0 win over Northampton on 25th October. Alex Lawless is back in training but unlikely to feature just yet. Only Paul Connolly, Alex Wall (leg) and Ross Lafayette (hernia) remain unavailable, although the latter has now resumed training.
KENILWORTH CRAMMED. Once again Kenilworth Road will be packed to the rafters. Make sure you get your ticket in good time. They are still available from the ticket office, from the Mall in the town centre and online, by clicking here.
WORD OF WARNING. Junction 10 of the M1 is closed this weekend so if you're travelling to the game this way, make sure you re-route your journey to get to Kenilworth Road safe 'n sound.
LIVE AND ONLINE.Hatters Player is the only place to listen to online commentary of the Hatters this season and once again the DiverseFM team will be bringing subscribers all the action from Kenilworth Road. What’s more there will be a full report, reaction and photographs post-match and live text updates during the match itself.
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