Ronnie Moore is desperate to get Tranmere into the third round of the FA Cup
A GAME in which no points are at stake has the potential to make a significant impact on Tranmere’s prospects of sustaining their promotion challenge, manager Ronnie Moore acknowledges.
Rovers’ FA Cup second round encounter with Chesterfield of League Two may not be the kind of tie that captures the imagination.
But the winners at Prenton Park this afternoon will emerge with a place in the third round draw – the equivalent of a lottery ticket for lower division clubs, with the jackpot prize a meeting with one of the Premier League giants.
The Cup has the potential to generate significant extra revenue for Tranmere, who are attempting to hold on to top spot in League One on one of the lowest budgets in the division.
Pulling an away tie with a giant from the Premier League, who enter the competition at the third round stage, is no longer the only way to net a cash windfall from the FA Cup in football’s television age.
TV broadcasting fees and FA prize money also add to the financial equation, as Tranmere found to their benefit when they collected just under £64,000 when the first round tie at Braintree Town was shown live on ITV4.
“There’s an awful lot at stake for both teams,” Moore said.
“Get through to the third round and you have the chance of a game against Liverpool or Everton, Arsenal or Manchester United and all the financial benefits that will bring to the club. Hopefully some of that money would trickle down to the manager to spend on the team.
“An away tie at a Premier League club gives you a share of the big gate. But if you get Liverpool or Everton or another big club at Prenton Park, the TV might fancy that. Then you’ve got TV money as well as gate money and prize money.
“The FA Cup can give you anything. There are two non-league teams playing each other in round two, so a third round tie against one of those at home would not be bad, to give you a better chance of getting into the fourth round.”
Moore has few golden FA Cup memories of his own to look back on. He was working at Rotherham during the period between 1999 and 2001 when cup giant-killing became Tranmere’s speciality under John Aldridge.
“I’ve not gone very far in the Cup and I don’t have many great memories,” Moore confessed. “I wasn’t here when we beat Everton (in 2001). That would have been a great one to savour.
“Playing Southampton while I was at Rotherham is about the best I can recall. It is about time I put that right here.”
Chesterfield, fresh from three straight League Two wins under new manager Paul Cook, are dangerous opponents who have to be respected, Moore said.
“We’ve had them watched and looked at the DVDs,” Moore said. “They played well in some games and fluked it in others – but winning when you are not playing well is the sign of a good team.
“Paul has some good players there. He has varied his formation from 4-4-2 to 4-5-1 and 4-3-3. We will just have to wait and see what he comes up with.”
Moore added: “As a player Paul had a lovely left foot. He could see a pass and play it. So Chesterfield will play good football, they won’t lump it.”
Cook, 45, was a player at Tranmere during 1996 and 1997,. when Moore was coming towards the end of a nine-year spell as assistant manager to Johnny King.
Cook, like Moore, began his managerial career at Southport. The Liverpudlian then spent close to five years in Ireland, developing his management skills with Sligo Rovers.
He returned to the UK to manage Accrington Stanley last season and took up the Chesterfield job at the end of October.
Those three wins on the bounce, the latest of them at Plymouth Argyle last weekend, moved Chesterfield to within three points of the League Two play-off zone. The Spireites put out League One bottom club Hartlepool United in the first round of the FA Cup, with a six-goal salvo.
Cook said: “We’ve put ourselves in a good league position and now we can’t wait to play Tranmere. We’re on a good run and long may it continue. We will go there looking to win the game.”
Tranmere will be without loan players Jake Cassidy and Liam Palmer, who have been declined permission to play in the FA Cup by their parent clubs Wolverhampton Wanderers and Sheffield Wednesday respectively.
Danny Harrison is expected to slot into Palmer’s midfield role alongside skipper James Wallace.
Cole Stockton and Adam McGurk could be vying for Cassidy’s striking position alongside Michael O’Halloran, who began his month-long loan from Bolton Wanderers by making a hard-working debut in the 1-1 draw at Stevenage last weekend.
Moore will make a late decision about the make-up of Tranmere central defence. Ben Gibson is a doubtful starter with a knock. Ash Taylor is available after missing the Stevenage game through suspension while veteran Ian Goodison will be hoping to keep his place after making an impressive first starting appearance of the season at Broadhall Way.