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MacDonald relishing being back at Prenton Park

12 November 2021

Tranmere Rovers left back Calum Macdonald feels there are ‘no more excuses’ as Rovers aim to rediscover league form with a victory on Saturday against Sutton United at Prenton Park.

Rovers return to League Two action on Saturday afternoon following a productive week in the FA Cup and Papa John’s Trophy where Micky Mellon’s side secured two impressive triumphs.

Macdonald, who featured in both games, albeit a short cameo role in the comeback win against Oldham Athletic on Tuesday night, is convinced the break from league duties worked to Tranmere’s advantage after a recent blip in results in the fourth tier of the EFL.

The 23-year-old has revealed how discussions between players and management appear to have helped Rovers bounce back, with a refocus on the key fundamentals Mellon wants to see from the players out on the pitch.

“It was a couple of Cup games that maybe came at the right time for us to iron out a few issues we were having in the previous two weeks in the league.” Macdonald said.

“These were two games we needed to get ourselves back together so we can kick on again in the league.

“It was hard to put our finger on what went wrong. We had a poor performance at Mansfield. We came away from what we were doing previous to that because we were on such a good run and confidence was so high.

“We’ve had meetings. We’ve had harsh words around the place, and we feel like we’re getting back on the right path.

“A lot of it was getting back to the principles we set in pre-season. The manager is very clear of what he asks from us.

“It’s very set instructions and we all know our roles and responsibilities. Probably for the 90 minutes at Mansfield and the Northampton performance, we came off them (instructions) individually and as team for a little bit. 

“I think because we’ve had a bit of time now in the Cups to move things around a little bit and add things from meetings we’ve had, I think now it’s been addressed, there’s definitely no more excuses over these next few games.”

Upcoming matches in the league offer Rovers an opportunity to assert pressure on teams above in the table with a cluster of home matches on the horizon.

The defender is solely focused on a tough clash against Sutton in front of the Super White Army this weekend, but he recognises the importance of picking up multiple wins at this stage of the season.

“The three points is massive for us first and foremost (on Saturday) to start another run which we went on before. We were on a good run of games and if we can get one again and build up another run of games, it’s only going to help us especially going into a busy Christmas period coming up.

“We’ve had strong support at home from the fans. I think on the whole we’ve got a pretty good home record this season. In three out of the four games at home, if we can pick up some good points we’ll be in a good position after those (games).”

Macdonald has had his problems with injury earlier in the campaign but is now back fit and firing. His durability appears back at the level which saw the talented youngster integrate himself into becoming a consistent figure in the line-up for Tranmere last term.

He still believes his levels can improve in the coming weeks, but the former Blackpool man is enjoying playing his part from a position which has grown in popularity in the modern game.

“I’m getting fitter. There’s still inconsistency in performances but now I’m starting to put games together. Hopefully we can go again, and I can kick on and start influencing games even more.

“There’s a lot demanded of a full back. We’re often the out ball against different formations so you’re demanded on for creativity and to influence the games both ways (in attack and defence).

“The gaffer is very strong on having a strong back four which is going back to being resolute and being strong as a defender and anything going forward is a massive bonus.

“Defending is the main job but then the enjoyment comes from going forward on little runs, overlaps and linking in with your attackers. That’s where the enjoyment comes from, and it also adds to your performance.”

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