Sep 7 2013 Sat WIR
RONNIE MOORE wants to change the rhythm of Tranmere’s football from a waltz to a quickstep when they take on Stevenage at Prenton Park this afternoon.
The manager sees the raising of the tempo as a key element in Rovers’ search for their best form after an uneven start to the season.
The team’s sluggish second half showing in a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy defeat to Fleetwood Town in midweek left Moore in no doubt they have to speed things up.
And he points to the high tempo performance that produced a giant-killing win over Bolton Wanderers in the Capital One Cup last week as a template for what is required to put the opposition on the back foot and get the home fans cheering.
Moore said: “When we play at home we should set the tempo. We should get at the opposition.
“We need to keep the ball better and move it quicker than we did on Tuesday night. The tempo of the game wasn’t quick enough for us.
“We set the tempo against Bolton. Ian Goodison set the tempo with his rasping tackle in the first 30 seconds that night.
“We need to come out of the blocks quickly. We have three young midfielders who can move the ball quickly but on Tuesday we got lethargic when we needed to get about Fleetwood and go for the kill.”
Tranmere will once again be without the creative influence of Jason Koumas and Andy Robinson, both sidelined with groin injuries.
Moore said former Wales international Koumas may need another two weeks of treatment and rest while Robinson has had a scan which revealed no tear.
“It is about Robbo getting pain-free or being able to train with the pain,” Moore said.
However, Rovers can fall back on the energetic trio of Max Power, Chris Atkinson and James Rowe.
Moore said: “Just when Jason Koumas was getting up to speed and looking like he was going to be okay, he picked up this groin strain in training and now we have to wait two or three weeks for him.
“Max Power won all sorts of awards last season as young player of the year.
“Maybe it is his turn to come to the table and show what he is made of.”
The inconsistency of Tranmere’s performances remain a concern for Moore and his staff.
“They had hoped a corner was turned with back-to-back wins over Bolton and Oldham Athletic last week but the 2-1 reverse to Fleetwood exposed some of the defensive flaws of the early-season games.
“At the moment there’s one or two who are not at the top of their game and they are a little bit nervous,” Moore said.
“I said to them to go out and enjoy their football.
“Our supporters want us to see them roll their sleeves up and do the right things, which they did against Bolton. The crowd got right behind them that night, it was a tremendous atmosphere.
“If I’m paying money to come and watch, I want to see something better than we saw in the second half against Fleetwood. So we have to make sure we give the fans what they missed on Tuesday.”
Moore has options to make changes in defence and says the back four will not be the same one that started against Fleetwood.
Danny Holmes will be hoping to reclaim the right-back spot from Andrai Jones, a loan player who started on Tuesday.
Centre-back Adam Dugdale, who has been recruited on loan from Crewe, is in contention for a first appearance in a Rovers shirt, putting Ian Goodison and Ash Taylor under pressure.
Tranmere can expect to face a robust physical challenge from Stevenage, who have the height and strength to back up a direct style of play.
Moore said: “Stevenage are a big strong side and if we don’t defend we are going to be in trouble. No matter who you are playing, whether it is the Dog and Duck or Everton, there are times in a game when you are going to be under pressure and you have to defend well.
“Three of our next four League One games are at home so there is an opportunity there for us. We’ve got to grasp it.”