Dec 7 2013 Sat WIR
Moore has belief his underdogs will bite
RYAN LOWE’S goal-scoring form is one of the best reasons for Tranmere to believe they can make the most of their underdogs’ chance of success in the FA Cup at Peterborough United this afternoon.
Manager Ronnie Moore gives the impression of being slightly irritated by the bookmakers’ odds, which make the Posh firm favourites to progress through the second round tie at London Road.
After all, the high spending League One promotion contenders trounced Rovers 5-0 in August and emerged from a mid-November wobble to defeat mighty Wolverhampton Wanderers last Saturday.
But Moore is confident that his counterpart Darren Ferguson will see a very different Tranmere team today to the one torn apart at Prenton Park just over three months ago.
And in 35-year-old Scouser Lowe, Moore sees a striker, still at the top of his game, who is benefiting from the team’s new-found strength and doing what comes naturally – scoring goals.
Lowe’s double in the 2-1 home win over Colchester United last Saturday took his tally for the season to 12, including five in the last three games.
Moore said: “Ryan Lowe was not getting many chances early in the season, without it being his fault. He is a natural goalscorer but it does not matter who you are – strikers can’t score goals without opportunities.
“Now we are creating them.
“It is a great feeling to know that once the ball is put in the right areas, Ryan Lowe is going to be able to put it in the net. He has always had the ability. It’s just a matter of supplying the ammunition.
“When you consider we have been a struggling side from most of the season, for Ryan to be in the top group of goalscorers in the division says an awful lot about him.”
Tranmere’s recovering form – they have lost only once in the last eight league and cup games – is such that Moore and his players would prefer to be pursuing more League One points rather than playing a cup-tie today.
But the reward for the winners of a place alongside the Premier League clubs in the third round, and the chance to make some serious money if tomorrow’s draw is kind, is a prospect that neither of the contestants can afford to ignore.
Moore said: “Whoever wins it is going to get the chance of being in a tie that makes the club a lot of money.
“So this game is important financially.
“Everyone has written us off. If you look at the odds from the bookmakers, it’s a foregone conclusion we are going to get beaten.
“But this is a one-off FA Cup tie and we have seen before what can happen. Whether you are top or bottom, the team that turns up and plays well on the day wins the game.”
Moore insists his team will be positive, rather than simply trying to contain the hosts. “We will try and win it without being daft,” he said. “You can’t go there with all guns blazing because Peterborough have quality and they could pick you off. Suddenly it could become one of those games when you concede another five goals.
“So we have to go about it in the right way.
“We’ve settled into a pattern and we know how we want to play.
“We are a better team now than when Peterborough gave us that right going over, early in the season.”
Moore isn’t saying which tactical system he will adopt at London Road: the 4-5-1 formation that did much to tighten up the team and add defensive stability over the past two months, or the 4-4-2 set-up reintroduced for the win over Colchester last week.
Rovers have many more selection options now than when the teams first met, thanks to players returning from spells on the casualty list and a trio of loan signings made last week.
The absence of Ash Taylor (suspended) and Ian Goodison (thigh injury) means Moore most find a centre-back partner for Jim McNulty. Left-back Liam Ridehalgh did the job well enough for 75 minutes against Colchester to be considered for a starting role in the middle today.
If Moore is to use Ryan Edwards – the young centre-back signed on loan from Blackburn – he will have to take another loan player off the team sheet (from Ridehalgh, McNulty, Jon Otsemobor, Kris Peterson and Chris Atkinson). Clubs can use no more than five loan players in any one game.
The fitness doubts over Otsemobor, who suffered extensive bruising when toppling over a pitch-side barrier last week, could solve the issue. A decision is being left to the last minute.
“It’s a nice problem to have,” Moore said. “We can now look at our substitutes’ bench and see we have one or two players on there who can change a game for us.”
Peterson, the 19-year-old winger signed from Liverpool, looks sure to hold his place following a thrilling debut last weekend.
“He was outstanding,” Moore said. “Kris has pace to burn and he can go past people. You can see he is a Liverpool player.”