Football – England – League One
Saturday 2nd February 2013 – Kickoff: 1500hrs
Joint leaders of LeagueOne, Tranmere Rovers, will be looking to edge ahead of their promotion rivals by taking the points when Carlisle United visit on Saturday afternoon at Prenton Park.
Tranmere have lost just once in their last six league matches which was a narrow 0-1 defeat at improving Coventry City but aside from that loss, they’ve strung together important wins over Crewe Alexandra 2-1, Scunthorpe United 1-0, Bury 1-0, Crawley Town 2-0 and most impressive of all, a 2-1 away win at fourth placed Brentford last weekend.
At home they are unbeaten in their last five with draws against Walsall and Portsmouth along with the aforementioned wins, and their home record stands at a healthy 8-4-2 25/11 with the second best defensive home record in the division behind only to Swindon Town who have conceded just 8 goals at the County Ground all season.
Much of Tranmere’s success so far has been built around Robinson (10 goals, 3 assists), Akpa Akpro (7 goals, 2 assists) and with the departure of Cassidy, McGurk has been more influential with a return of 3 goals, 5 assists.
Carlisle United have recorded a couple of important wins of their own in recent weeks with victories over Hartlepool United 3-0, Bury 2-1 and Coventry City 1-0, the former two results ensuring they keep out of any immediate relegation danger, but all three of these wins have all come at their Brunton Park ground where they hold a 5-3-7 21/30 record.
However, switching to their away form now and you can see why they struggle on the road for any consistency; just one win in their last eight away matches with defeats at Colchester United 0-2, Brentford 1-2, Shrewsbury Town 1-2, Crewe 0-1 and on the receiving end of a 0-4 thumping at Swindon Town with an overall away record of 4-3-6 14/20.
Drilling down a little deeper and we find that Carlisle have conceded in their last 27 away matches which obviously hands Tranmere the advantage here before a ball is even kicked! In addition, up front, former leading goalscorer Joe Garner (7 goals) has since left to Preston NE and this severely depletes Carlisle’s attacking strengths.
I was tempted to go for the both teams to score option here, but with Tranmere’s tight defence (6 clean sheets at home so far) and the loss of Garner for Carlisle, I’ll back the hosts giving the quarter ball again in case they don’t win and we take only half a hit. Could be a 2-0 win for Tranmere Rovers today.
Pick: Tranmere Rovers AH-0.25 @ 1.71 Pinnacle