TRANMERE head into two televised games this week holding a five-point lead at the head of the League One table.
“We have achieved nothing so far but it feels fantastic to be top of the league,” said manager Ronnie Moore after his young team secured a second away win in four days with a 1-0 success at Oldham Athletic.
Rovers gained ground on a day when second-placed Sheffield United lost for the first time this season at MK Dons and Stevenage were thumped 4-1 at home by Preston.
Tranmere turn their attention to the FA Cup tomorrow when they play the rescheduled second round tie at non-League Braintree Town in front of the ITV4 cameras. Then on Friday night, the League One encounter at Prenton Park with Dons is broadcast by Sky.
Moore hopes the national TV audience will get to see the qualities that have enabled his team, to win 11 of the first 17 League One games this season.
Character and determination were the words Moore used to describe Tranmere’s performance in defending a 54th-minute goal from Adam McGurk – the Irishman’s first strike of the season – at Boundary Park.
Moore said: “We should have been out of sight at half-time with the chances we had just before the interval. But we kept going, got the goal and then Oldham were throwing the kitchen sink at us in the final 10 minutes. We will have to learn to keep the ball better when the opposition are doing that.
“We allowed them to hoof some big balls into our box and I thought we dealt with them very well.”
Moore took particular pride in the periods of the game when the visitors’ passing and movement kept Oldham on the back foot.
“Some of our passing was excellent,” Moore said. “Not bad when you think about what the Oldham fans say I’m renowned for. Jake Jervis played a great ball in for the goal and Adam’s finish was perfect. He is good at coming into the back post area and getting on the end of things. He can play up front as well is out wide. It was good to see the goal go in because we had a lot of fans following us – 1,250 – and we got the right result for them.”
The victory did not come without cost however. Right-back Danny Holmes took a painful blow just below the shin from a tackle by Dean Furman and limped off after a quarter of an hour to be replaced by Michael Kay.
Moore said: “It was a bad tackle and the lad got out of jail with a yellow card. The injury has got to be bad for Danny to come off. There’s a swelling just under the shin pad so we will have to wait and see how serious it is.
“Michael Kay came on and did well. The opportunities are going to come for the fringe players when we pick up knocks. Danny Harrison will get a game on Tuesday when Liam Palma is not available and we can’t use Jake Cassidy either. But Andy Robinson comes back into the fold after suspension.”