Dec 20 2012 by Nick Hilton, The Liverpool Post
MANAGER Ronnie Moore insists Tranmere have no reason to fear any of their League One opponents as they approach the halfway point of the season.
Rovers will have faced every team in the division by the time they complete the away fixture at Swindon Town on Friday night.
Moore says he is “enormously proud” of how his predominantly young team, put together on a modest budget, have kept their noses in front of the big spenders.
“I don’t think there’s anyone in the division we should fear,” Moore said.
“I know there are a lot of good teams in the league and a lot of clubs with big budgets but we have shown tremendous spirit and played some great football.
“Our lads are like the Dirty Dozen. If one goes down another one comes in and we keep fighting. It’s a matter of hanging in there.”
Tranmere clung on to top spot by holding promotion favourites Sheffield United to a goalless draw at Bramall Lane last Saturday, although their advantage is down to the fine margin of goal difference.
That picture could change over the hectic Christmas programme. Tranmere follow-up the Friday night trip to the County Ground with home games against Crewe Alexandra (Boxing Day, 3pm) and Scunthorpe United (December 29, 3pm) then travel to Bury on New Year’s Day.
Moore said: “No matter what happens at Swindon, we can be proud of what we’ve done in the first half of the season. If we get anywhere near this level in the second half of the season, we are going to have a chance of getting into one of the automatic promotion spots.”
He added: “Of the teams we’ve played so far, MK Dons footballed us to death for 45 minutes at Prenton Park. We changed things tactically and did well against them in the second-half, then lost the game to a late goal.”
Moore was delighted with the way his players responded to a tactical change at Bramall Lane.
He said: “That performance showed how far we have come. We stopped them from playing. Owain Fon Williams had to make a very good save in the first-half. Apart from that, they did not create an awful lot for a home side. And remember we had four of our influential players missing.”
Skipper James Wallace is making a strong enough recovery from his medial ligament injury to be contention for a recall against Crewe, Moore says.
Striker Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro and winger Abdulai Bell-Baggie will be a little longer coming back from foot and leg injuries respectively.