Feb 7 2014 by Nick Hilton, Main WIR
STEVE JENNINGS may have come back to the club he calls “home” by rejoining Tranmere but the midfielder admits he is keen to help with repairs to Prenton Park’s declining reputation among rival teams this season.
Midfielder Jennings remembers when Rovers’ home turf was regarded as hostile territory for visitors during six seasons at Prenton Park early in his professional career.
This term however, Tranmere have managed to win only three out of 14 League One games at home so far, the lowest number in the division, and collected a meagre 14 points in front of their own supporters.
It is as if the drawbridge has been pulled down on Fortress Prenton Park and a welcome mat placed at the entrance.
So a home game against promotion hopefuls Preston North End tomorrow presents an opportunity for Tranmere to make some urgent improvements to the poor record.
Jennings said: “In my first spell here, Prenton Park was basically a fortress.
“We welcomed big clubs like Leeds United, Leicester City and Nottingham Forest here and we would make it difficult for them.
“We seemed to thrive on games like that.
“I remember as players it would give us a lift to be playing against the bigger clubs in the division and our home form was good. You never really saw us being turned over here.
“Playing at home is a big advantage and we have to make sure we use it.”
Jennings returned to Prenton Park in October, initially on a non-contract basis after leaving financially-troubled Coventry City in the summer.
He signed a deal earlier this month extending his stay until the end of the current campaign.
The 29-year-old from Kirkby, whose experience in the game includes a three-year spell in the Scottish Premier League with Motherwell, believes the key to improving the home form may lie in sustaining performances over longer periods of matches.
Jennings said: “The gaffer is trying to get it into us that we need to play well for 90 minutes of the game and not just 45. If we can start doing that, I do believe we have more than enough going for us to pull away from the relegation places.”
Jennings has established himself as a first-team regular over the past month in a defensive midfield role.
He said: “I played in that role of my 49 games for Coventry City last season. The gaffer has asked me to sit and I’m quite happy to do that and let the other midfielders bomb forward and try to get goals. I don’t really mind the defensive side of it. People say you are not scoring goals from that position I have always been more of a team player throughout my career.”