Sep 19 2013 by Nick Hilton, Wirral Echo
JAMES ROWE admits Tranmere must learn to pull off a trick that’s been beyond them for most of this season – function effectively as a team at both ends of the pitch at the same time.
Rovers have been prone to defensive errors through much of a stuttering start to the League One campaign, conceding 17 goals in seven games so far. On the occasions when the team tightened up, they lost much of their creative edge in the games against Oldham Athletic and Stevenage.
Midfielder Rowe said: “We have shown we can do the attacking and defensive sides of the game well at different times. We need to put it together in one performance. The sooner we do that the better.”
Manager Ronnie Moore and his players hoped they had turned a defensive corner by keeping clean sheets in the 1-0 win at Oldham and the goalless draw with Stevenage.
But they paid a heavy price for a succession of mistakes at the back in the 4-3 home defeat to Brentford last weekend.
Now they hope they can put a strong and balanced performance together on the visit to bottom club Notts County on Saturday.
Rowe said: “We conceded four sloppy goals against Brentford and that killed us. We scored three goals and had chances to win the game but we have to defend better.
“You can’t concede four goals and expect to win games.”
Rowe, 21, a summer trialist from Forest Green Rovers who secured a one-year contract, quickly graduated to regular first-team football, settling into an energetic and youthful midfield partnership with Max Power and Chris Atkinson.
He believes the team are on the right track even though players are taking a little time to gel as a unit.
“We believe we are not far from turning a corner,” Rowe said.
“We had two clean sheets in a row. We had been defending well and the shape had been good through the team, all the way through to the strikers.
“The boys were down after the Brentford game because it kills you to lose to a goal right at the end of injury time.
“But there were some positives from that performance. We showed a lot of character to come back from going two goals down early on. For 25 minutes we were right on top. Our first goal (scored by Atkinson) was a very good one. We worked the ball well and played through them. We need to do that more often.”
Tranmere will start the afternoon at Meadow Lane four points better off than County, who were beaten 5-1 at leaders Leyton Orient in midweek and have scraped just a single draw from seven games so far.
Rowe said: “Everyone has got to stick together and be strong mentally in a situation like this.
“It is fine being together as a group when you are winning. But when you’re not winning you need that unity.”