Football – England – League One
Saturday 12th January 2013 – Kickoff: 1500hrs
League One leaders Tranmere Rovers will be keen to restore their lead at the top of the table when they host inconsistent Crawley Town at Prenton Park on Saturday afternoon.
Tranmere have had their lead at the top cut to just goal difference with the emergence of Doncaster Rovers and their consistency over the last few weeks, whilst Tranmere endured a tricky period recently where they failed to win in six matches. This mini dip in form seems to have been corrected following three straight League One wins over Crewe Alexandra 2-1, Scunthorpe United 1-0 and an away win at Bury 1-0 on New Years Day.
Tranmere will be very aware though that they must maintain this improved form to stave off the challenge from Doncaster Rovers as well as the chasing play-off pack that includes Sheffield United and Brentford who are just three points and four points adrift respectively. But Tranmere’s home form has been solid so far this term and their record stands at 7-4-2 23/11 and only Swindon Town (8 goals) have a better home defensive record than them.
Tranmere have also lost just once in their last six at Prenton Park whilst gathering wins over the aforementioned Crewe and Scunthorpe, but were held to draws against Preston NE, Walsall and Portsmouth. Manager Ronnie Moore will no doubt impress upon his players the importance of this match, particularly as Sheffield United are at home to Yeovil this Saturday.
Onto Crawley Town then and you never quite know what you’re going to get from the Sussex outfit with recent wins against Stevenage, Portsmouth and Colchester United, but they’ve also suffered defeats against Yeovil Town, Crewe, Sheffield United and Bournemouth.
Crawley’s away form is much the same and their overall record stands at 6-2-5 14/18 which reflects their fickle form. One thing I would mention though is their tendency to under-perform at the top sides in the league – aside from beating Doncaster away second away match of the season, they’ve lost at Swindon Town, Brentford, Coventry City and Bournemouth – the latter two clubs are closing in fast on the play-off pack.
Of the two teams here, I’d say that Tranmere have been the more consistent and with three league wins on the trot behind them going into this match and home advantage, I’ll back Tranmere to win this one perhaps by a 1-0 or 2-1 scoreline. I recommend taking the handicap on them though as you’re never quite sure which Crawley Town are going to turn up.
Pick: Tranmere Rovers AH-0.25 @ 1.98 Pinnacle is worth a shot