Rovers boss Micky Mellon has spoken as he looks ahead to Saturday’s encounter with Grimsby Town at Blundell Park.
Mellon discussed a range of topics, including squad selection, player availability, defensive structure, attacking threat, and rounded off with some news on the Liverpool Senior Cup draw, where a Rovers XI will visit Steve McNulty’s Bootle side.
He started off by giving some squad news ahead of this weekend’s visit to the East coast, and if the squad size has developed since Northampton last Saturday.
“The squad size is still the same as last week. We were down to six subs – we struggled. We’ll always have one or two who aren’t fully fit, and won’t be in the squad, as you’ll also see this weekend. However, we’ll still put a team out there who we think can get us the result.”
A draw against 3rd place Northampton Town at Sixfields Stadium last weekend was a good point for Rovers away from home – however, members of the first team squad and management team agree that chances need to start equating to goals.
“There are positives to build on. The group are developing nicely and when we go to a place like Northampton, where over recent years we’ve struggled, is probably one of the best performances we’ve given at Sixfields Stadium. That’s definitely something we look at as part of the development of these players – and apart from putting the ball in the net, we pretty much did everything else right.”
“We need to start turning these draws into wins, keep these clean sheets going, and we’ll keep on developing.”
“It’s not solely the forwards’ job to score – other players had opportunities as well to put the ball in the net. It’s up to the team to do that. We’ll keep going, we’ll keep trying to do the right things. Patience is a hard word in football, but we’ve got to be patient – but if we keep doing the right things, I’m absolutely confident that the goals will start flying in”
Rovers have the third-best defensive record in League Two this season – with only Stevenage and Leyton Orient above Tranmere. Mellon’s side has just 16 goals against, and 10 clean sheets – averaging 0.80 goals against per game.
“Certainly since I’ve returned to the club and in the last two seasons, we’ve had one of the best defensive records outside of the Premier League. That’s a credit to the players. Where we have to improve is to score goals as a team, but defensively, we’re very good.”
Rovers have scored just one goal in the previous five league fixtures. The Tranmere boss explained how getting an early goal would be vital to set oppositions on the back foot.
“Getting an early goal is always a good thing. We need to concentrate on ourselves. If we go to Grimsby being the best version of ourselves, and what we’re trying to do, keep building on it, keep the confidence going, keep the development going, and add some goals in, then we’ll be doing well. We proved this at Northampton – we just need to show consistency.
“We’re creating some really good chances – ones which we’re disappointed not to be taking – so now it’s about the composure and confidence to go and score these chances, and to keep us moving again.”
The Liverpool County FA Senior Cup Draw was released on Thursday afternoon, with a Rovers XI visiting the Berry Street Garage Stadium to face a Bootle FC side in the Quarter Final of the competition. The hosts will be managed by a familiar name to Rovers fans – former captain and Tranmere legend, Steve McNulty.
“We’ll take a Tranmere team to Bootle, and we will give as much respect as we need to – however our absolute focus is on the league, and we’ll take the players available to this game. But it will be nice to send a Tranmere team to Steve [McNulty], who did so well here.”