Barrow A.F.C v Tranmere Rovers – Match preview.

Barrow A.F.C v Tranmere Rovers – The match preview
Tuesday 29th December 2020
@Holker Street
English Football League Two

This Tuesday night, Tranmere will travel to Cumbria to face Barrow A.F.C at Holker Street in the aim of leaving 2020 with a very positive performance and result. If the Whites are serious about achieving promotion, which I believe a highly prestigious fourth tier side should be, consistency is needed and this is something that has to start as soon as possible and has to be continued into the final parts of the campaign. However, this aim will not be easy as Barrow are a difficult opposition to face following the appointment of the former Grimsby Town manager Micheal Jolley. The Bluebirds have been victorious in their past two league fixtures and they will want to extend this against a Rovers side that come into this game on the back of a narrow defeat at home to Bradford City.

Team news:
All members of the Rovers squad are available for selection for the final fixture of the year, this is great news for the Whites as they have many experienced players of good quality. In my opinion, a squad that is capable of beating any league side it comes up against.

The hosts:
Barrow are managed by Micheal Jolley, who was appointed six days before this league encounter will take place. The 43-year-old has previously managed Grimsby Town and the Swedish AFC Eskilstuna.
Last season the ‘Bluebirds’ were promoted to the football league, for the first time in 48 years.
In the summer, a number of football league players signed for the Cumbrian side including 23-year-old centre half Matthew Platt who they signed for an undisclosed fee. There were a few players released, including attacking midfielder John Rooney.
Barrow are currently placed 21st in the fourth division table and will be hoping to steer away from the relegation zone. They have won 4 and lost 9 of the 20 league games they have played.
The Bluebirds’ ‘one to watch’ is striker Scott Quigley who has scored three in the club’s last three run outs. The 28-year-old signed for the club last season and he played a pivotal part in Barrow’s promotion to the EFL. Rovers’ defence will have to be wary of the 6ft4 forward.
The Cumbrian club’s biggest achievement is their promotion to the third tier of the English football pyramid in 1967. However, they have also won the FA trophy twice. Their latest trophy win was in the summer of 2010 with a 2-1 win over Stevenage Borough, after extra time. Jason Walker scored the goal in front of 21,223 spectators that would win the game in the 107th minute.

James Bell is the ‘man in the middle’ for this fourth division fixture. So far this campaign Bell has officiated fifteen games, awarding 45 yellow cards and 5 red’s. The referee’s duties will be aided by his assistant’s, Simon Clayton and Gary Hilton.

Did you know?
In January 2016, Tranmere won 4-3 at Holker Street in a National League encounter. Rovers were 3-1 down in the 90th minute but would score 3 goals in injury time to set the visiting supporters into a state of delirium.

A link between the clubs:
Former Tranmere promotion winner Andy Cook has featured for both clubs.The Bishop Auckland born forward signed on a permanent basis for Barrow in 2011, following two loan spells. He would spend a season at the club, scoring just under 20 goals before signing for Grimsby Town. He would re-sign for the ‘Bluebirds’ in 2014 and would have an amazing two campaigns, scoring 47 in 87 appearances according to Wikipedia. This would please the Tranmere manager at the time, Gary Brabin, who signed the forward to partner James Norwood up top. This is easily the best strike partnership I have seen. He scored 49 times in 85 encounters and would fire Rovers up to the football league. Great times for the Merseyside club. He would resign for the Whites in the winter of 2020, he didn’t play much as James Vaughan excelled and earnt his place in the team alongside Morgan Ferrier.

Head to head:
Tuesday evening marks the 52nd game in all competitions between the two sides at Holker Street, the 103rd meeting in total.
The first occasion between the two clubs at the Cumbrian stadium was in April 1911, Barrow winning 3-1 in a Lancashire Combination League Division Two tie. The Bluebirds were victorious at Prenton Park in the September prior.
The last occasion between the two clubs was also at Holker Street. The encounter resulted in a 1-1 draw, James Norwood scoring in the final minute of injury time to level the scoreline following a very closely contested 90 minutes.
In total, Tranmere have been defeated 26 times and have won 11 times away to Barrow. The remaining 14 from the 52 games at Holker Street have finished in draws.

My predictions:
I believe this fixture will be incredibly tricky for both sides, I also believe that goals will be scored. In terms of the players selected for the Whites, I don’t think the lineup will be too dissimilar in comparison to the one chosen in the defeat at home to Bradford City.
Lineup – Davies, MacDonald, Nelson, Clarke, Ridehalgh, Young, Spearing, Lloyd, Feeney, Vaughan, Blackett-Taylor.
Scoreline – Barrow A.F.C 2 Tranmere Rovers 2

Thank you very much for reading,
All the very best for the new year,
Ethan Hoijord

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