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12 January 2019 Venue Jonny-Rocks Stadium Attendance

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English Football League - League Two

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Preview: Cheltenham

10 January 2019

Setting the scene…

Tranmere Rovers return to Sky Bet League Two action with a trip to Whaddon Road for a fixture at Cheltenham Town on Saturday afternoon.

Micky Mellon’s Rovers’ saw their FA Cup journey come to an end by Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur in front of a sold-out Prenton Park last Friday night.

Rovers are ninth in the division ahead of the trip to Gloucestershire, while their hosts Cheltenham are 18th in the fourth-tier after last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat away at Crawley Town.

Team news

Manager Micky Mellon has a full squad to select from for this weekend’s game at Cheltenham Town.

Ishmael Miller and David Perkins will be pushing to make their debuts, whilst Harvey Gilmour will also be looking to keep his place in the starting line-up, after completing his permanent switch from Sheffield United.

Ollie Banks has returned to full training after his substitute appearance against Tottenham last week.

The Robins’ season so far

Prior to losing at Crawley, boss Michael Duff had steered the Robins up the table which saw them go on an unbeaten six game run.

Former Burnley defender Duff was appointed at Whaddon Road in September following on from Gary Johnson’s departure the previous month.

Cheltenham have steadily climbed League Two and are eight points ahead of the relegation places as they prepare to host TRFC.

From their 26 league games, the Robins have won seven, drawn 11 and lost eight this term. Should they earn three points on Saturday, Cheltenham could move up to 16th if results go their way.

One to watch

Striker Luke Varney leads the way in front of goal for Cheltenham this term.

Born in Leicester, Varney began his professional career at Crewe Alexandra in 2003, where in 95 league appearances for the Railwaymen, he scored 27 goals during a four-year stay at Gresty Road.

Varney earned himself a move to Charlton Athletic in 2007, turning out 57 times for the Addicks in two seasons in the capital.

The forward then later signed permanently for Derby County but would spend three separate spells on loan at Sheffield Wednesday in the 2009/10 season.

A loan to then-Premier League side Blackpool saw Varney stay on the Lancashire coast for the 2010/11 campaign, where he made 30 top-flight appearances at Bloomfield Road, scoring five goals for the Seasiders.

Later in his career, Varney plied his trade for Portsmouth, Leeds United, Blackburn Rovers and Ipswich Town.

Varney spent last season in the Championship with Burton Albion, making 33 appearances for the Brewers.

The 36-year-old dropped down to the fourth-tier last summer with Cheltenham and has since scored six goals in 20 appearances for the Robins.

Match coverage

Can’t make it to Rovers’ away game at Cheltenham Town on Saturday? Don’t worry as you can keep up with goings on at Whaddon Road.

You can now sign up to Tranmere Rovers’ iFollow, which allows access to extended highlights and interviews with manager Micky Mellon and a player, after the game.

To sign up, click here

Alternatively, you can follow the action through our social media channels below, with full text coverage during the fixture, followed by a match report.

Twitter: @tranmererovers

Facebook: @trfcofficial

Instagram: @tranmererovers

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Match Reports

Cheltenham 1-3 Tranmere

12 January 2019

A spirited second half fight back from Tranmere Rovers secured their first win of 2019 with a 3-1 victory at Cheltenham Town.

Goals from the division’s top goal scorer James Norwood, a debut strike by Ishmael Miller and a third from the returning Ollie Banks sealed the win for Rovers, after Luke Varney put the hosts ahead at the end of the first half.

The win means Rovers now have more points than we did the last time we played in this level in 2014/15 and we still have 19 games remaining before the close of the season.  

Tranmere Rovers manager Micky Mellon handed debuts to David Perkins and Miller for the league clash against the Robins.

Ollie Banks made his first start of the calendar year for the Club after a spell on the sidelines through injury. Connor Jennings missed out through injury.

The hosts nearly took the lead within the first two minutes, Ryan Broom’s cross from the right got caught in the wind and clipped Scott Davies’ crossbar.

Striker Miller was not too far away from a debut goal in the 25th minute, the best chance of the game so far after a quiet beginning. A long ball upfield was held up well by Norwood, he laid the ball off for the former Oldham man who hit just wide of the mark.

The chance sparked Tranmere into life and one minute later, a snapshot from Norwood after a strong run from Perkins in midfield, who worked hard and didn't stop for the full match, saw Scott Flinders tip Norwood's effort round his right-hand post for a corner.

Cheltenham were looking threatening when they moved forward, and as Jacob Maddox lashed a shot from inside the box over Davies’ bar.

At the other end, Miller had his second goal scoring chance of his TRFC career, put through on goal by Norwood, Miller held off the attention of a Cheltenham defender, but Flinders made himself big to deny the striker a debut goal in the 39th minute.

The hosts went in front in the 41st minute, as Varney continued his good form in front of goal, sneaking past the Rovers defence, the experienced striker slotted home just before the half time break.

Rovers came out for the second half lifted and within a minute, Norwood levelled for Tranmere after his initial shot was blocked from a Jake Caprice cross, but the striker kept cool to slot home in front of the travelling support.

A flurry of chances came for both teams in a five minute spell, first of all, defender Mark Ellis clearing off the line a certain goal for the hosts. At the other end, a stunning stop from Flinders denied Norwood a second, tipping the ball round the post which was destined to nestle in the top right hand corner.

From the first minute of the second period, Rovers were intent on turning this second half around and they did just that on the hour mark, as Miller got his deserved debut goal.

The striker, who missed two half opportunities in the second period, made it third time a charm when he pounced on Norwood’s saved shot to put TRFC 2-1 up.

In the 70th minute, Miller came off to a standing ovation from the travelling Rovers support, with fellow striker Paul Mullin.

TRFC’s number nine made an immediate impact, providing an assist for Tranmere’s third goal of the game. The goal scoring opportunity came about when Norwood hassled the ball away Cheltenham captain Ben Tozer. Norwood then played the pass to Mullin who passed it on to Banks on the edge of the box, and the midfielder did the rest, slotting the ball into the far corner to send the travelling support into raptures.

Banks made way in the 76th minute, as fellow midfielder Jay Harris came on to join Perkins and Luke McCullough in the middle of the park for Tranmere.

Mullin had a chance to make it four for TRFC after Norwood put him through on goal with a fantastic pass, but his chip was unable to hit the target. Tranmere comfortably saw out the remainder of the game to secure an important away victory, and attention now turns to Swindon Town at home on Saturday 19th January. For ticket information, please click here.

Davies, Ridehalgh, McNulty, Monthe, Ellis, Caprice, McCullough, Perkins, Banks (76), Norwood, Miller (Mullin 70). Unused subs: Pilling, Buxton, Bakayogo, Smith, Gilmour.

Attendance: 3,104

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Ticket News

Cheltenham Town ticket details

7 January 2019

Match tickets for our match against Cheltenham Town will go on sale on Wednesday 2nd January.

We have been allocated 961 in the Hazelwoods Stand and have also been allocated 3 wheelchair tickets in the same stand .

Tickets prices are as follows: 

Adults: £21

Over 65: £15

Under 18 and Full Time Student*: £7

* Students are classed as supporters who are in full time education who produce a valid NUS Card or Student Card from University. 

Tickets will go off sale at 5pm Thursday 10th January. 

Coach travel prices are reduced for this fixture to just £20 and can be bought here.

The coach will leave Prenton Park at 9:45am

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