Sep 27 2012 The Liverpool Post
DANNY HOLMES expects the going to get tougher for Tranmere now they have established themselves as early League One leaders.
He believes opponents will be putting in extra effort against a team who have taken the rest of the division by surprise by notching six victories in eight unbeaten games so far this season.
The full-back said: “Now we are top of the league we are going to be a scalp.”
Holmes anticipates that Brentford, Saturday’s visitors to Prenton Park, will be fired up. The Bees manager Uwe Rosler said this week: “I think against Tranmere we may have one or two ideas about how to address the game. Maybe it is time to freshen things up. It’ll be a test but I like tests like that.”
Holmes saw Tranmere’s 5-2 win at Crawley Town last weekend as an important step towards establishing a stronger record on the road. Rovers have taken eight points from two wins and two draws on their travels so far, after collecting just 18 points from 23 away games last season.
The 23-year-old from Birkenhead notched his first ever Tranmere goal at Crawley with a left foot shot that put the visitors 1-0 up. They went 2-1 down before two strikes from Jake Cassidy and one apiece from Jean Lewis Akpa Akpro and Andy Robinson swept the hosts away.
“Hopefully there’s going to be more goals to come from me,” said Holmes, a lifelong Tranmere fan in his second spell with the club.
Manager Ronnie Moore said: “I was pleased to see Danny score because he started the season so well. The surprise was that he scored with his left foot. He took the opportunity following a throw-in and it probably helped that Jake Cassidy got across the eyesight of the goalkeeper.”
Moore gave his first-team players a little extra time off this week after a busy early-season schedule that saw them play 11 games between August 14 and September 22.
The decision was timely, given the impact of this week’s heavy rain on the Raby Vale training ground.
Holmes is convinced the team is good enough to stay in the promotion race over the longer term. “We want to keep this run going because we know we are good enough to do that,” he said.
Moore, however, is ever mindful that Tranmere, who operate on one of the lowest budgets in the division, don’t have the strength in depth to match the biggest spenders and are therefore more likely to feel the impact of injuries and suspensions over the coming months.
Moore said: “Who would have thought at the start of the season that teams like Sheffield United and MK Dons would be chasing us at this stage?
“But they are going to come into the picture. We are not stupid. We know our budget and strength in depth are not the same as those enjoyed by Sheffield United and MK Dons and others.
“What we have got is something you can’t buy, which is spirit and the determination to grind out results.
“When you’re at the top of the league anything can happen. Our first target is to get another 30 points. How quickly we get to 50 points will shape our season because 50 points means we secure our place in this division for another year. Once we get there, we can see what happens next and enjoy it.”
Tranmere were able to deal with the season’s first crop of injuries, which saw centre-backs Ian Goodison, Mark McChrystal and Ash Taylor sidelined. They recruited young defenders Ben Gibson and Roman Golobart on loan from Middlesbrough and Wigan Athletic respectively.
Golobart is due to return to Wigan this weekend after Taylor’s quicker than expected recovery from injury limited him to two starting appearances. Gibson proved a conspicuous success and the 19-year-old’s loan was quickly extended until early January. His partnership with Taylor is proving so strong that Ian Goodison will have his work cut out to reclaim a place in the starting XI when he returns to action following knee surgery.
The vastly experienced Goodison is on course to play a first comeback game for the reserves next week, while left-back Paul Black, sidelined since pre-season with a thigh injury, resumed training this week.
Moore said: “The squad is not massive so we need all the injured players back as soon as possible. It will be interesting to see how Goody reacts to not coming straight back into the team. Normally, when he is fit and raring to go, he comes straight back into a team that has not won many games without him. It is different this time.”