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Match Previews

npower League 1 midweek preview

18 September 2012

THE BIG MATCH

Last season, Tranmere Rovers and Bury both finished the npower League 1 season with 56 points to their name; on Tuesday evening they meet at Prenton Park separated by 11 points after six matches. The sides have had opposite starts to the new campaign with the undefeated Rovers topping the table with four wins and two draws whilst the 22nd-placed Shakers have yet to win.

Saturday's 2-0 win at home to Coventry City took Rovers' goal difference into double figures and tonight, manager Ronnie Moore will see his side's impressive start come under attack from his former assistant Peter Shirtliff, who is in caretaker charge of Bury.

Moore toldwww.tranmererovers.co.uk that he is expecting a tough match as a consequence: "He knows the game inside out and he'll have them well set. They'll play 4-4-2 and have eight behind the ball, make it difficult for you and then counter attack so we have to be on our toes that when we're on the front foot we're not sleeping at the back.

"Bury have gone and drawn 1-1 at Sheffield United and really should have won it. They had a chance right at the death where the lad has hit it over the bar.

"So we know it's going to be a tough game, but let other teams worry about us. If we have the same application and dedication we had the other day, keep the ball that bit better then Bury will be in for a tough game."

Bury have drawn three and they currently sit above Coventry and Colchester United at the bottom of the table on goal difference. A point on Saturday at Bramall Lane was their first for three matches and they will look to build on that at Prenton Park.

The Shakers will be without defender Phil Picken for the trip to the Wirral, as he has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, but caretaker boss Peter Shirtliff will be hopeful striker David Healy and defender Efe Sodje can recover from small knocks in time for the 7.45pm kick-off. 

KEEP AN EYE ON

Walsall are another side who found themselves down at the wrong end of the table for periods of last season who are enjoying a new lease of life this year. The fifth-placed Saddlers have started well with just one defeat from their opening six matches and they will travel to Stevenage on Tuesday night for a match against a team one point and two places better off.

Wins over Notts County, Milton Keynes Dons, Portsmouth in recent weeks have caught the eye and Boro will represent another good marker for how far Dean Smith's side have come since last season.

"Stevenage will be well-organised opponents who reached the Play-Offs last season," commented the Walsall boss to www.saddlers.co.uk on the team managed by his namesake Gary Smith.

"We are well aware of the threats they possess and it will be another tough game, but we have the confidence and self-belief that comes with winning football matches.

"There are some big-hitters in this League, but we are holding our own and making people sit up and take notice.

"We have pace, trickery, invention and creation in our side and those kind of ingredients can cause any team problems.

"It's been a solid start to the season so far, but we know that we have to maintain the standards we have set ourselves on a consistent basis."

Boro are one of only three teams - Tranmere and Sheffield United are the others - who have not lost yet this season in npower League 1. Substitute Robin Shroot preserved their unbeaten start with a goal nine minutes from time to earn a 2-2 draw with Crewe Alexandra at the Lamex Stadium on Saturday, their third home draw of the season.

And the 24-year-old winger told www.stevenagefc.com after the enthralling match that the team need to improve their home record by ensuring they get their first win of the season at the Lamex Stadium when the Saddlers come to town.

"I think we need to make sure we stamp our authority at home.

"Walsall are on a good run as well, they got a good result today [Saturday], but it's just another game of football and if you want it more than the other team and are willing to put in the graft then why not?"

ELSEWHERE IN THE DIVISION

MK Dons will be looking to follow up their win over Yeovil Town at the weekend when they host second-placed Notts County.

The Magpies drew at Oldham Athletic in their last outing and the Latics are again at home, facing Scunthorpe United. The two sides sit either side of the relegation zone at the foot of the table and the Iron will be hoping for another three points to add to the victory they claimed at Shrewbury Town at the weekend.

The Shrews host Coventry City in another match involving teams near the bottom of the early league table. Colchester United are bottom by virtue of goal difference and they will welcome Crawley Town who have made an impressive start to life in npower League 1; they are currently fourth following a 2-1 win at Preston North End in their last match.

Doncaster Rovers won by the same margin away at Colchester and they now travel to seventh-placed Sheffield United. Rovers are ninth ahead of five teams on eight points, Brentford and Swindon Town are two of the sides who will look to take advantage if Rovers don't beat the Blades but they also face tricky away trips.

Paolo Di Canio's side are at Portsmouth while Uwe Rosler's team travel the slightly longer distance to Bournemouth. Preston host Hartlepool United while the other teams on eight points, Carlisle United and Crewe Alexandra meet at Brunton Park.

Completing the action, Leyton Orient, who beat Brentford 1-0 last Thursday night, welcome sixth-placed Yeovil Town, who narrowly lost by the same score at MK Dons on Saturday.

Click here for all the midweek action


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