MANAGER Ronnie Moore reckons Tranmere’s place at the top of the League One table should be a source of civic pride.
“I think the whole of Birkenhead should be proud of what these lads have done so far this season,” Moore said after Rovers clung onto pole position by holding promotion favourites Sheffield United to a goalless draw at Bramall Lane on Saturday.
“We competed against the best at this level, against a team capable of playing at the next level up, and we were the team on the front foot. We were the only team who were going to win it in the last five to 10 minutes.
“I have nothing but praise for our lads. Other teams are closing the gap on us but we are still top of the league and we have four great players to come back.”
Tranmere, operating on one of the lowest budgets in League One, go into the game that marks the halfway point of the season at Swindon on Friday with a clutch of big spending clubs still playing catch-up.
Moore was particularly pleased with how his side coped with a Blades team who enjoy the best support in the division and have not lost at home since March.
Moore said: “After Swindon we will have played everyone in the division and we are going to be there or thereabouts at Christmas.
“I’m delighted with the players who have come in for the injured lads. When you look at what Sheffield United have to work with and who they have on the bench, like Dave Kitson, it shows the resources we are up against.
“But our lads are willing to roll their sleeves up and do so well that they make me proud. If we can hang in there and we get our four big players back, we might surprise people in the second half of the season in the same way we have surprised people in the first.”
Moore explained the tactical change that saw Tranmere depart from their usual 4-4-2 formation to operate with a 4-4-1-1 system in which Andy Robinson was tucked in just behind central striker Jake Cassidy.
“We put Robbo in the hole because we know both of United’s full-backs bomb on. If Robbo was our wide man then they would be taking him to the wrong end of the pitch. We put Michael O’Halloran and Adam McGurk out wide and I think it worked a treat and stopped their full-backs getting forward.
“We did not create too many chances. It was like a game of chess. But in the second-half we had a bit more belief and desire. We were on the front foot, getting at them.”