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Match Previews

Match Preview: Walsall

13 January 2023

Match Previews

Match Preview: Walsall

13 January 2023

Tranmere Rovers look to build on a good performance last weekend against Sutton, as Walsall visit Prenton Park.

A win for Rovers on Saturday afternoon could push them up 5 places should results go for Micky Mellon’s side elsewhere in League Two, which could potentially put them just a point away from the play-off positions.

Walsall come into the game in a positive place, sitting at 11th in the table, and three points on the Wirral for the away side could cement their place in the play offs.

Tranmere are looking to build on a positive performance at home to Sutton United last weekend after two good goals from Kane Hemmings and Josh Hawkes in a game which Rovers will be frustrated that they didn't win.

Walsall have some of the best form in the league at the moment, winning 4 of their last 5 matches. This includes an FA Cup Third Round win last weekend at Stockport County after a 90th minute penalty, and a 2-1 win at home to Mansfield Town to kick off the New Year.

Walsall have disappointing away form this season, winning three of their 10 games on the road – drawing four and losing four. This is less than 1.2 points per game whilst travelling this season, compared to Tranmere’s 1.5 points per game at Prenton Park in the 22/23 campaign, winning five, drawing three and losing four on the peninsula this season.

The two sides have faced each other 78 times, the first being in 1921, and the last being in September 2022 when Rovers visited the Poundland Bescot Stadium, where an Elliott Nevitt 96th minute winner was enough to secure Tranmere three points.

One To Watch: Isaac Hutchinson

Isaac Hutchinson is a 22-year-old midfielder and is certainly one to watch for the Tranmere defence on Saturday afternoon.

The English playmaker started his career at aged 10 as he was picked up by Brighton and Hove Albion Academy, where he stayed until being released at aged 18.

Following a successful trial period, Isaac signed his first professional contract just 5 years ago with Southend United. In the process, he turned down offers from overseas.

During the January transfer window of 2020, he signed for Derby County. However, due to the impact of COVID-19, Hutchinson only featured once for the Rams – and experienced loan spells at Forest Green Rovers and Crawley Town in that time.

He was signed by Walsall in the summer, and has started in 21 of the 23 Sky Bet League Two fixtures this season for the reds, scoring twice and assisting five.

He has been described by opposition fans as one who can ‘win the game for Walsall’, being one of their more influential players.

The Manager: Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn is a Welsh football manager, who has had a great playing career, and entered into management as a player-manager in 2017.

Flynn started his playing career aged 18 for Newport County, before playing for clubs such as Barry Town, Wigan Athletic, Blackpool, Gillingham, Huddersfield Town, Bradford City and more.

Despite this illustrious playing career, he will best be known for the 110 appearances that he made for his boyhood club, and his four years in charge at Rodney Parade.

The current Walsall boss led Newport County between 2017 and 2021, where he achieved survival in League Two, FA Cup runs such as taking Tottenham to a replay at their temporary home, Wembley Stadium, after beating Leeds United in 2017/18, and again in 2018/19, beating Leicester City and Middlesborough in the competition, before being defeated by Manchester City.

He led County to the play-offs, which can be remembered fondly by Rovers fans, where a 119th minute goal from Conor Jennings at Wembley Stadium sent Micky Mellon’s Tranmere up to League One.

In February of 2022, Flynn was appointed Manager of Walsall and finished 16th last campaign, after steering them away from a relegation battle. They sit in 11th, 1 point from the play-offs, and the Welsh-born manager has also won the League Two Manager of the Month in October.

Match Coverage:

International supporters can get their match pass to watch the game live on iFollow by clicking here

UK based supporters can listen to full match commentary for as little as £1 per game by getting an audio season pass here.

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 

Match reaction from Micky Mellon and a player will follow on our website and YouTube channel.

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