Tranmere manager Ronnie Moore demands another hard-working display against Scunthorpe
MANAGER Ronnie Moore is looking for back-to-back home wins and a haul of Christmas holiday points heavy enough to keep Tranmere in an automatic promotion spot as they head into the New Year.
Moore regarded the Boxing Day win over Crewe Alexandra as “the first game of a massive week for us” and aims to build on that success in this afternoon’s encounter with Scunthorpe United at Prenton Park and the visit to Bury next Tuesday (both 3pm).
“We’re after seven points from three games and if we can get nine that would be great,” said Moore, who was relieved to see his team put a 5-0 hammering at Swindon Town behind them with a bright and enterprising second half performance against Crewe.
He said: “I thought we were the better side against Crewe. Some of our work was exceptional when you consider the way we played at Swindon. We need that again. We need to be up and at the opposition.
“When teams come to Prenton Park we need to get them onto the back foot.”
The win over Crewe was Tranmere’s first in six League One outings at Prenton Park. It was also their first league win, home or away, since a 1-0 success at Oldham Athletic on November 10.
Tranmere’s high tempo passing and movement in the second half and the closing down of the opposition was a reminder of the early season form that took him to the top of the table.
Hearteningly, the performance and the points were delivered by a line-up missing a quartet of influential players sidelined by injury -- James Wallace, Ben Gibson, Jean-Louis Akbar Akpro and Abdulai Bell-Baggie.
Moore said: “While we have got these injuries it is vital the other boys who come into the side help us grind out results so we are still in touch with the teams at the top. That way when everyone is fit, we are not going to be too far behind and will be in a position to catch up.
“It would be nice to go into the New Year in a similar position to the one we are in now.”
Moore is hoping for more positive support today from the home fans. In spite of a disappointing run of results at Prenton Park and the hiding at Swindon, supporters were loud and strong in their backing as Tranmere came from behind to subdue the Railwaymen.
“The crowd were very good on Wednesday and we are hoping for more of the same,” Moore said. “There’s been games were they’ve had their boos. It happens if you don’t produce on the pitch. But I think a lot of them, the vast majority, are sensible and can see what we are trying to do, what the aim is.
“It’s unbelievable we are second in the table when you consider our resources.”
Tranmere hope skipper Wallace will be back in action by the time they play host to Crawley Town on Saturday, January 12.
The midfielder’s recovery from a medial ligament injury suffered a setback last week, stalling hopes that he might play a part in the Christmas programme.
Rovers expect striker Akpa Akpro will be pushing for action by mid-January as he makes good progress in his comeback from the metatarsal injury sustained in the 1-0 win at Notts County back in October.
They are also hopeful Middlesbrough will allow centre-back Ben Gibson to return to Prenton Park for a second loan spell next month, after the teenager’s first term was cut short by a groin injury.
Gibson’s early departure to the Riverside for treatment prompted Moore to recruit centre-back Donervorn Daniels on loan from West Bromwich Albion.
The teenager made his first League One start for Rovers against Crewe when the veteran Ian Goodison was left out.
Moore said: “I thought Don had good game on Wednesday. It is hard for Goody, at 40, to play in all the games so we thought we would have a look at Don.
“He did not do much wrong. He’s a good player, strong and quick. He’s got to learn that he can’t win every ball and that’s what young players are about. They want to try and win everything.
“Once he learns that he has got a bright future because he is quick and that helps you when you are a defender.”