Friday night football returns as Tranmere take on Harrogate

Friday night football returns to Prenton Park, and it’s Harrogate Town who visit Tranmere. 

Despite another unsatisfactory result in a draw at lowly Colchester United on Saturday, it was a point in the right direction, as performance-wise showed a different lease of new energy that had been lacking at Prenton Park of late.

It was a stern display which highlighted many improvements and it was only a penalty with twenty minutes remaining that denied Rovers the three points after Harvey Saunders’ first goal in white was cancelled out.

A similar performance and the ability to hold onto a lead would stand Tranmere in good stead, as they search for their first win since the end of February. 

Where they were in a perilous position as relegation seemed not beyond the realms of possibility, Harrogate’s recent upturn in results has seen them gain comfort between themselves and the bottom three, as well as a push for mid-table on the cards. Eight points out of their last five is a positive sign for Harrogate, and a win on Friday would hand them another confidence booster at Tranmere.

Players To Watch

Joe Murphy (Tranmere)

The veteran shot-stopper has brought his experienced head to the table, keeping Tranmere in many games with some man-of-the-match displays.

He’s been forced into goal-mouth action of plenty, as of late, Tranmere’s astute defence has completely capitulated, and Murphy has denied most warning shots that come his way, excelling at making his body big, getting a strong hand to the ball and rushing out of his goal when needed. 

Murphy has aided Tranmere to many clean sheets and fewer goals conceded, and with a tense run of games coming up, it will be crucial for him to continue his fine form as we reach the business end of the season.

Luke Armstrong (Harrogate)

Armstrong is into his second season at Harrogate, and another prolific campaign is on the cards, with him already matching his tally from last season.

With 12 goals to his name, Armstrong has proved to be a menace up front, often linking up with Alexander Pattison. His record against Tranmere has been great of late, with him providing the assist this season, last season when Harrogate knocked Rovers out of the Papa John’s Trophy and one of two strikes against Tranmere in the league last season.

With four of his goals arriving since the turn of the year, he’ll be hoping to continue his level of performance and his attacking record against Tranmere if Harrogate are to chalk up a rare away win.

Head-to-Head Results

  • 2022-23: Harrogate 1-1 Tranmere 
  • 2021-22: Tranmere 2-0 Harrogate 
  • 2021-22: Tranmere 1-2 Harrogate (Football League Trophy)
  • 2021-22: Harrogate 2-2 Tranmere
  • 2020-21: Tranmere 3-2 Harrogate 


Ian Dawes & Andy Parkinson (Tranmere)

With Tranmere yet to install a permanent outfit in the dugout since the departure of Micky Mellon, Ian Dawes and Andy Parkinson will be stepping in temporarily. 

Dawes, an experienced coach and Parkinson, a former Tranmere player, will be hoping to oversee their first victory in charge as they take charge of their first home back against Harrogate. 

Simon Weaver (Harrogate)

A non-league veteran as a player, Weaver joined Harrogate as a player/manager in 2009, and he’s been at the EnviroVent Stadium ever since. 

With Harrogate a renowned non-league club, Weaver took the club to new heights within several years and in 2020, he helped achieve one of the greatest success stories in Football, taking Harrogate from the depths of the sixth tier to League Two in a matter of years.  

Since then, he’s consolidated the Yorkshire outfit, with two mid-table finishes and this season has been the only real time they’ve been sucked into a relegation battle, but a late surge of form lately has seen them gain relative comfort between them and the bottom three. 

Image: Mark Humphreys

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