Total Tranmere
Match Preview: Sutton United v Tranmere Rovers
By Louise Formston
September 16 2016

After last week's defeat at home to Lincoln City and 0-0 draw away at York, Rovers are on the road again on Saturday as they travel to Sutton United for a televised lunchtime encounter.  Once again Louise brings us her Match Preview ahead of the game....







Tranmere Rovers continue their week on the road as the travel south on Saturday to take on Sutton United (and their 3G pitch) for the first time in the National League.  Even if you don’t read the rest of the preview please remember that Rovers play at 12:15pm on Saturday against Sutton and the match will be shown live on BT Sports.

Form Guide:

Rovers recorded their first point of September at Bootham Cresent as they held York to a 0-0 draw, despite being reduced to ten men during the second half. After losses to both Aldershot and Lincoln, Tranmere fans will be hoping that the point against York will be enough to kick start another unbeaten run.  Despite the point, it wasn’t enough to see Rovers back on the top of the National League table and they have sunk to fourth after their impressive start.

Sutton United have had a patchy start to life in the National League after promotion in the summer.  With four wins, a draw and two losses in August Sutton weren’t doing too badly but three losses on the bounce in September have left them 14th in the table, with 13 points – seven behind Rovers.

Injuries and Suspensions:

Connor Jennings remains out injured for Rovers after twisting his knee against Lincoln last weekend.  Jeff Hughes will be suspended for the Sutton United match following his red card during the second half of the away game at York.  The club have made no attempt to appeal the red card (and I have to agree this is the right decision, looking at Hughes’ reaction following the referee’s decision) and as a result Hughes will be suspended for the games against Sutton United, Woking and Dagenham & Redbridge.  

Defender Simon Downer will be available for Sutton United after he served his three match suspension following his red card against Dagenham & Redbridge. Dean Beckworth missed the Us game against Braintree with groin strain and is unlikely to feature on Saturday.

The Opposition Dugout:

Paul Doswell has been in charge at the Borough Sports Ground since 2008, after taking up a two-year deal with Sutton United following their relegation from the Blue Square South. 8 years later, Doswell oversaw the U's promotion to the National League, as Sutton were confirmed champions following a 2-0 win over Chelmsford City with Doswell described it as his best achievement in football.

Who’s Who? Sutton United Edition:

Nick Bailey is United’s top scorer this season with three goals already.  The 32 year old started his career at Sutton back in 2003, before playing for Barnet, Charlton, Middlesborough and Millwall amongst others but he returned to the U's in January of this season after leaving Barnet.  During his stint at Charlton, Bailey scored against Tranmere in both fixtures during the 2009/2010 season which saw Charlton promoted. Here’s hoping he doesn’t continue that trend on Saturday.

Joining Bailey in midfield, is Ryan Burge who joined the U's in February this year and his three goals in five games helped Sutton United achieve promotion. Highly rated as a youngster Burge was tracked by both Manchester clubs before signing for Birmingham.  Since then, Burge has played in Japan, as well as in Spain for Glen Hoddle’s Academy eventually moving back to England to play for Doncaster in 2011.  After Doncaster, Burge moved to Micky Adams’ Port Vale where he was voted player of the season, before joining Newport in 2013.

After a successful trail with Cheltenham Town Burge was poised to sign a deal but found himself injured in a preseason friendly and was ruled out for the whole season. Burge has repeatedly been described as a creative midfielder, with an aggressive style of play – I’m expecting a strong performance from him.

Midfielder Jamie Collins is no stranger to Non-League football, having played for Newport County, Aldershot, Forest Green and Eastleigh before making the move the Sutton United last year.  With one goal already this season, the 31-year old will be hoping his experience at this level allows him to rack up a few more.

Around the League:

Lincoln vs Barrow:  Top of the table Lincoln take on Barrow this weekend.  A win for Lincoln could see them potentially four points clear whilst a win for Barrow could see them over take Rovers.

Forest Green vs Bromley:  Third in the table, and on the same points as Rovers, FGR will be hoping to put themselves top of the table as they face Bromley.

Dag & Red vs North Ferriby:  Also up there in the table is Daggers and they’ll also be attempting a jump to the top of the table whilst North Ferriby will be hoping to put some distance between themselves and the relegation zone.

My Starting XI:


Vaughan     McNulty     Ihiekwe     Ridehalgh

Maynard    S. Jennings

Mekki                            Stephenson



With no Hughes, Ridehalgh will fill in at LB whilst hopefully a midfield of Maynard and Jennings will provided protection for our back four who pick themselves. Stephenson by all accounts had a very good game against York and I think he, along with Mekki on the other wing will give Tranmere the attacking edge we’re lacking at the minute. Norwood and Cook remain in the side, but I’d prefer to use Norwood as a number ten, behind Cook. With Cook as a target man, having Norwood with the freedom to get in and around him should hopefully mean we always have a player in position to receive a knock down.

The game against Guiseley was boring and we need to show we can play exciting, attacking football. It’s an attacking side and one I know Brabin will never pick but I can live in hope!

Score Prediction:

2-1 Rovers - Despite my hopes for an attacking side, I don’t think it’ll happen and I think we’ll end up conceding before having to fight back and prove why we should be top of the table.