After making the step up from League Two last season, Tranmere Rovers’ start to life in the third division of English football has been hit and miss so far.
Micky Mellon’s side are outside the relegation zone, which is obviously a huge positive, but only by a point and they’re are currently one of four sides that look like they could be battling it out to avoid the last spot in the drop zone–with Southend United and Bolton Wanderers cut adrift at this point.
Tranmere will undoubtedly have been looking to make up for the 5-0 hammering at the hand of Sunderland last week but saw their clash against Doncaster Rovers on Saturday postponed.
What will the result be on Saturday?
MK Dons win
They now travel to Stadium MK to face MK Dons in a bottom-of-the-table scrap that pits 19th against 20th–with the teams on the same points total and goal difference.
Prior to the loss to the Black Cats, Mellon’s men were in a relatively good vein of form–having won three times in their last seven games–and they will no doubt be looking to return to winning ways and put some distance between themselves and the drop zone.
Facing MK Dons could be the perfect way to do that. Paul Tisdale’s side are without a win in their last eight League One games after making a bright start to the season.
Anything less than a win could see either side drop down into the relegation zone, should results elsewhere go against them.
With that in mind, here is the Tranmere XI that we expect Mellon to field on Saturday.
Rovers are in the midst of something of an injury crisis at present, with a string of first-team stars sidelined.
For the most part, however, Mellon’s defensive unit have been unaffected and they can expect an easier time of it than at the Stadium of Light last week, as only bottom-of-the-league Bolton have scored fewer goals than the Dons this season.
Scott Davies has been a mainstay in the Tranmere net this season and looks set to reprise his role once again.
Ahead of him, I can’t see Mellon mixing up the backline despite the heavy defeat against Sunderland, with George Ray and Emmanuel Monthe starting at centre-back and Jake Caprice and Liam Ridehalgh at full-back.
The Tranmere boss looks likely to stick with the 4-4-2 that he has preferred in recent weeks. Neil Danns and David Perkins must be amongst the most experienced central midfield duos in the EFL and they will likely reprise their roles.
Out wide, Kieron Morris and Connor Jennings have been key for Tranmere in the final third, adding three goals and three assists between them, and they look set to play an important role in this lower table scrap.
Rovers are without top scorer Stefan Payne, who is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card, so we may see 21-year-old Rushian Hepburn-Murphy get the nod alongside Paul Mullin up front.