There isn’t a lot that can be written about our trip to Tranmere that hasn’t already be said on social media. It’s a top of the table clash, we’re involved in it and it doesn’t come around all that often.
It will undoubtedly be the one game on the fixture list that you would be happy with a solitary point from if you could. I’d wager any team finishing above Tranmere this season will be champions and therefore it is a benchmark against which we can measure how far we’ve come. Wins over Macclesfield and Gateshead showed that we are competing with the other ‘also-rans’, but are we good enough to compete with the true elite of our league, the two Rovers?
Unfortunately I can’t make it to our newest local derby (see the press conference earlier if you’re confused) but I can guarantee that we will take good numbers across the M62. For many fans this represents a little taste of the past, we will be playing a proper club in a proper stadium in front of a lot of actual fans. It will be just like old times.
I don’t mean to be rude to the likes of Solihull Moors or Dover when I refer to proper teams, but as an ex league club who have suffered the setback of relegation it is tough for them to comprehend how hard it is to accept the level we are at. Sincil Bank against Gateshead rocked like it used to in the football league, but for the last five seasons bar the odd game that hasn’t been the case. A trip to Grimsby has always given us a good away day, but it is hard to get worked up about driving down to Braintree to stand around on what seems to be recreational land surrounded by six or seven home fans at most. Even a trip to Rochdale holds more draw than that.
That’s why it’s important to really relish the match on Saturday. I know we went there a couple of times last season and even got a draw in the cup, but in essence this is the first time we go with belief. I’m not thinking how we might scrape a point there and I’ll guarantee you the players won’t be either. They will be bang up for this game and there is to be no doubting their belief either. Four straight wins have set a standard that the side must try and maintain and such is the quality we have shown recently that I believe that standard will be continued.
Tranmere would not have wanted to see us next on the fixture list after their first defeat of the season, especially knowing that a win will take us above them. It’s too early to be seeing that as an indication of final league standings, but it would be a big psychological boost after the start they’ve had. I bet that Gary Brabin would have loved to have seen Solihull Moors or Guiseley as the next visitors to Prenton Park to give them a chance of clawing back some form. No such luck.
Mind you if we lose the game we have two great chances to get back on the horse with Solihull and Barrow to come next week. The Barrow game especially should be fantastic with lots of ill feeling towards Paul Cox fuelling another great atmosphere in Sincil Bank. Imagine what that atmosphere would be like if we were going into the game six points richer than we are now! 4,000 anyone?
There should only be so many ‘good times are a-coming’ blogs I can do, but with such positivity around the club I feel I have to document it. Positivity at Sincil Bank has been as rare as a dodo nest in recent years and it’s wonderful to feel it seeping back into every pore. Even last season as CM was picking us up and dusting us down you felt a trip to Tranmere represented little more than a chance to go down gracefully in a proper stadium. On Saturday we have a chance to go to a proper stadium and come away with a proper result.
Matt Rhead might be injured tomorrow and I think that could be construed in a positive light. Gary Brabin will have had Lincoln watched and last week he will have seen us playing a little more direct towards the big man. Their training this week may have been based around nullifying that threat with their own high rise office block at the back, Steve McNulty. I imagine it might throw a spanner in the works if we came out with the pace of Bonne and the trickery of Marriott as our opening assault. It’s certain that McNulty is short on pace, so maybe the promising Macauley Bonne running him ragged would be a good approach anyway? Options, and the ink isn’t yet dry on Jonny Margetts Scunthorpe contract. If you like a bet put money on the Imps to score inside ten minutes as we start with pace.
Finally today I’ve watched Danny Cowley’s press conference this afternoon and I must say he seems much more relaxed this week than in previous weeks. I get the impression through August there was an element of trying to get messages across and put processes in place. If I didn’t know better I’d think that the eternal perfectionist himself was actually very happy with the way the team have responded to the new methods. Maybe he’s seen what secretly we have all hoped we might be seeing: a team capable of something a little more than ‘just’ a top five finish.
You never know.
I’m entered into the Football Blogging Awards of 2016 and if you read and like my blog I’d urge you to vote. You can do it two ways, if you have twitter there is a link below to take you straight to a tweet you can use to register your vote
If Twitter isn’t your thing just click the link below and write staceywestblog – Gary Hutchinson in the Best New Blog category. I appreciate all your support and messages.