RONNIE MOORE wants his players to rekindle the fires of Tranmere’s promotion challenge in front of a bumper crowd and a TV audience at Prenton Park tonight.
The manager is looking for a performance to light the fuse on supporters’ passions from the start of the League One encounter with Shrewsbury Town.
Rovers hope a £5 for all admission offer will attract a big attendance and Moore says his team have the responsibility of stoking up the atmosphere by their deeds on the pitch.
That is going to require an improvement on the sluggish displays that cost Tranmere three defeats in the last four games and their place at the top of the table.
Moore said: “We are playing at home and we have to set the tempo, close opponents down, press them and build the platform so our quality shines through. When we do that there’s not many teams can live with us.
“The last time we were on TV, against MK Dons in November, we got 10,500 in and the crowd were fantastic, even though we were beaten 1-0. Support has been very good this season. Sometimes at home it is a little bit quiet and it is quiet because of what is happening on the pitch.
“I’ve said to the lads that we are the ones who have to light the blue touch paper and get the crowd going.”
Tranmere, the leaders for most of the past five months, dropped into third place in midweek when Bournemouth and Doncaster edged ahead of them.
Moore said: “It will be interesting to see how we react to not being top and how other teams react to being up there. It is not easy.”
Moore says the players responded positively in training this week after a disappointing show in the 2-1 defeat at Leyton Orient last Saturday.
“We were not happy with the way we performed last weekend,” Moore said. “They have worked hard in training we have changed one or two things in the way we want to approach games from now on. They have taken to it. We will see the proof of the pudding again Shrewsbury.”
Moore acknowledges Rovers were fortunate to escape with a point from a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture at the Greenhous Meadow in August.
Shrewsbury, promoted from League Two last May, are lying a little too close to the relegation places to consider themselves safe. A modest goalscoring record and too many drawn games – 13 out of 32 – are partly to blame.
However, target man Marvin Morgan is likely to be back in action for Graham Turner’s team.
Turner said: “In Chris we have an experienced player who has played a good number of games this season. I’m pleased that we’ve been able to add someone of Chris’ calibre to the squad.”
Moore said: “I think Shrewsbury are a decent side in a false position. Graham Turner knows the game inside out. He has taken Porter from Sheffield United. He would have suited us but there was no way in the world Danny Wilson was going to let him come here. I know a lot about Porter because I took him into my squad at Oldham a few years ago.”
Akpa Akpro is serving a three match suspension which also keeps him out of the rearranged home game against Swindon Town next Tuesday.
Moore is hopeful midfielders Andy Robinson and Adam McGurk will shake off back and sciatica problems to be available for selection.