Thursday, 27 August 2009

A Travelling Addick - Tranmere Preview

Week 5 of the 2009-10 season see’s Charlton Athletic journey up the M6 to the North West to take on Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park.

Both sides have had contrasting starts to the season, with the Addicks taking maximum points from their opening 4 fixtures to put them atop the League 1 table. Tranmere on the other hand have won just one of their opening 4 matches under new manager John Barnes to leave them three places from the bottom of the league table.

An important fixture for both sides, history says a draw is the likely result, but with 26 goals being scored in the sides previous 10 encounters, a goal-less draw is probably not what you should be betting on this weekend!

A Red Divided will be travelling up for this one.... I couldn't pass up an opportunity to head back home for the weekend for this match! Richard has fond memories of Liverpool, the last time he was up there was when Charlton, with the inspired Thomas Mhyre in goal held Liverpool to a draw and we had a cracking weekend out in town that weekend!!

This weekend is the world famous "Beatles Festival" which means that town will be booming, so for the small number of Addicks heading up, I hope you are going to stay over night and enjoy the bank holiday party in Liverpool!

Tranmere Rovers vs Charlton Athletic
Saturday August 29th

Prenton Park
Kick Off 3pm

A Tranmere View….
Thanks to “Tranmere Italian”, “Miltipello and “eXtreme” from for their help!

Last year saw you come agonisingly close to a play off position and finish in 7th place, your best position since your third place finish in 2004/05, but the start to the 2009/10 season has seen you win just one of your opening 4 matches to leave you 3 places off the foot of the table. Where do you see yourself finishing the season this year and what needs to happen to take that step into the play offs or promotion places?

Tranmere Italian: We have had a difficult start to the season due to effectively a total new starting eleven. We completely lost the spine of our team from last year. This year we have a mix of young loanees and youth academy players together with a few experienced pros. In terms of finishing position, at best mid table for us and little chance of the play offs!!

Miltipello: Being realistic, I think what's in store for us this season is ultimately a season stuck in and around mid-table, probably the bottom half mid-table too. The squad we have is paper thin at the moment and when we lose key players to injury I think it will really show. In order to get the play-offs we need some a 20 goal a season striker to come in, but given our budget it's going to be difficult to do this.

eXtreme: We need to show some spine and make the opposition play our way not theirs, and stop losing the ball. I can see us getting relegated this season. You said "What needs to happen to take that step into the play offs or promotion places?" A new gaffer, simple!

You’ve recently installed John Barnes as manager, a Liverpool and England legend, who’s managerial record isn’t the greatest…. What’s he done over the summer to boost, or drain your confidence for the forthcoming season? Is he the right man to take Tranmere forwards?

Tranmere Italian: I am not a Barnes fan. He wants to play total football in League 1, which is pretty to watch but not effective and we do not have the players to fulfil his style. I think he is going to take us in the wrong direction for League 1. We were awful at Leeds and could and should have lost 7-0!

Miltipello: I think the style and ideas he is trying to adopt to our game are fantastic. Swansea played their way out of this division and certainly would be great to see it work. However, unlike Swansea we haven't the cash to spend to bring in the better players who can play the passing game and that has shown in our performances so far. To end on a good note our kids have had a great chance to shine and Ash Taylor certainly looks a great prospect at centre back.

eXtreme: What's he done to drain you're confidence... well he never did have it, and I can't see him getting my confidence at all. Look what he did at Celtic " Super Cally Go Ballistic As Celtic Are Atrocious" says it all...

Charlton and Tranmere are in similarly precarious positions when it comes to the club owners and where the clubs will be going in the next few years is anyone’s guess. But you boys found yourself in a particularly unusual situation over the summer…. When you found out that Tranmere had been placed on e-bay, did you think it was a wind up? Will a change of ownership help drive Tranmere towards the Championship?

Tranmere Italian: I personally think ebay was done on purpose as the whole world knows Peter Johnson wants to sell!! He wants too much for the club though and we are in the shadow of Liverpool and Everton!

Miltipello: My first thoughts were, "Typical Tranmere". I sometimes consider ourselves the Newcastle of League One in that we'll be doing something ridiculous that'll get us in the press, but never usually for the right reasons. Changing ownership, as long as into the right hands can only be a good thing. That's not to say Peter Johnson hasn't done anything for the club, but some new blood could be the kick start that all clubs at this level desire.

eXtreme: Ebay... haha now that did make me cry not in a sad way, but more of and "I don't believe it, this has got to be a wind up" way! A change of Ownership is a must, Johnson has stated he wants to sell so we need to look to the future and hope we don't get a YANK to buy us!

What do you think League 1 holds for Charlton this season and where do you think the Addicks will finish up?

Tranmere Italian: I’m looking forward to seeing you play on Saturday. I would have thought you are a definite for play offs at least!

Miltipello: Personally I see Charlton finishing in the top 2. They've started brightly and the Valley is a difficult place to go and grab any points. I think Leeds will win the title this time around, but Charlton will certainly be there or there abouts!

eXtreme: Play offs at least! Charlton are a decent side, they've got the fans and the support of there board room, but i think Charlton will be champions

Charlton and Tranmere Head to Head

Tranmere Rovers Honours

Football League Cup Runners Up 2000
Third Division North Winners 1938
Division Three Play Off Winners 1991
Football League Trophy Winners 1990
Football League Trophy Runners Up 1991
Welsh Cup Winners 1935
Welsh Cup Runners Up 1934

The Ground:

Prenton Rd West, Birkenhead, CH42 9PY

View Larger Map

The ground isn’t that difficult to find and can be reached either through Liverpool City Centre and the Queensway Tunnel or via the M53… I’d recommend Junction 3 of the M53 and it should be signposted from there. Trains run from London to Liverpool Lime Street and connections can be made to get to either Birkenhead Central or Rockferry which are the closest stations. As usual, the trains appear to be crap from London on the Saturday and they’ll probably be dry trains too, which given the scenes at Upton Park this week, can’t really be sniffed at.

Capacity: 16,587 (all seated)

Prenton Park is made up of 4 stands: The Main Stand, The Kop, The Cowshed and the John King Stand. Away supporters are housed in the Cowshed which thankfully isn’t as bad as other “shed’s” around the country and provides comfortable settings for away supporters.

Prenton Park is not a ground that sells out, it is regularly half empty, with average attendances for last season around the 6,000 mark, there will be plenty of empty blue and white seats.

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