Feb 10 2014 Main WIR
WINNING the battle against relegation will rest on Tranmere’s ability to post victories against rivals from the bottom half of the table, manager Ronnie Moore believes.
Rovers’ cushion above the League One drop zone was reduced to two points after they were beaten 2-1 at home by fourth-placed Preston North End on Saturday.
Over the next month they face matches against fellow strugglers Bristol City, Oldham Athletic and Stevenage, which will be vital, Moore says.
“The games against teams in and around us are must-win games,” Moore said. “We have to take 19 points from 16 remaining games to get to 50 points and that might or might not be enough to keep us safe in the division this season.
“It is within us to do that but all of the teams around us will be trying to do the same thing. It is a crazy division because so many teams are being dragged into it (the relegation fight).
“We have to try and sneak points off the top teams like Preston. If we had taken a point off them it would have been a great result, after the mauling we took in the first 25 minutes of the game.”
In spite of sliding to a seventh home defeat of the season, Moore felt Tranmere maintained an improvement in performance levels.
“Just recently I think we can see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel with the way the performances have picked up,” he said. “In these tight games you want to avoid defeat but it’s difficult when you’re playing a side as good as Preston. We won’t play against a much better side than them. They were on a par with the top two in the division.”
Moore was unhappy about the defending that contributed to Preston’s two goals, scored by Joe Garner, but added: “I can’t fault our effort and commitment.”
Rovers changed tactics after less than half an hour, abandoning a 4-4-2 formation to introduce Jason Koumas as an extra man in central midfield.
Moore said: “The 4-4-2 wasn’t working and if we had not changed it, Preston would have had the ball day. Jason got on the ball and played his passes. We stayed in the game and got the equaliser (through Ash Taylor) just before half-time.
“We were nice and bright at the start of the second half and then gave away such a sloppy goal.”