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Match Previews

PREVIEW | Wrexham v Tranmere Rovers

It's time for another derby.

15 March 2024

Match Previews

PREVIEW | Wrexham v Tranmere Rovers

It's time for another derby.

15 March 2024

The odds are against Tranmere making a late charge into the play-off spots, with 10 points separating them from 7th place. However, their superb midweek victory over league leaders Mansfield Town shows how dangerous they can be.


The midweek draw was frustrating as Harrogate Town left the Stok Cae Ras with apoint after a determined rearguard action. However, it could turn out to be a point gained as Harrogate lived up to their billing as the side with the second-best away record in the division, and most of the teams around us also dropped points on the night.

There were no obvious injuries picked up on the night, but a yellow card picked up by James McClean means he picks up a 2-match suspension and will be absent for a derby match which would suit him down to the ground.




When we won at Prenton Park last September, the consensus was that Tranmere were in trouble. Indeed, it was the fourth in a run of seven consecutive losses, and the following month they lost six in a row. Anyone who watched Wrexham's win wouldn't have been too surprised: we should have scored more than one goal - an Aaron Hayden header from a set piece - and weren't troubled as Rovers passed the ball around in front of us without threatening us.

In mid-November they were 23rd in the table, but experienced manager Nigel Adkins started to turn the tide with a 3-0 victory over Forest Green. That sparked a run of 11 games in which they lost just once and won 7, and they have fallen away too much since then. If the season had started on the day of their win over Forest Green, they'd be 4th in the table, level with us on points, and apart from that excellent win over Mansfield in midweek, they also handed out a 4-0 thumping last month to Stockport (who, interestingly, would be 11th in the table below).

Pos   `P W D L F A GD Pts
1 MK Dons 22 13 3 6 34 24 10 42
2 Mansfield Town 22 12 4 6 46 23 23 40
3 Wrexham 21 11 4 6 35 19 16 37
4 Tranmere Rovers 22 11 4 7 39 25 14 37
5 Barrow 21 10 6 5 35 27 8 36
6 Walsall 21 10 5 6 32 23 9 35
7 AFC Wimbledon 22 10 5 7 29 20 9 35

League Two table since November 11th 2024

It's not all good news for Tranmere though. They have the second-worst away record in the division, having won 12 points out of 57 on the road. Their 13 defeats are the most of any side, equalling Sutton's total.

The outstanding win over Mansfield had Adkins purring to his club's website.

"I thought the performance was exceptional, a joy for the supporters to watch. The work rate, the commitment, those two things, and then the quality of some of the football was a joy to watch.

"The way they passed, they moved, against a top, they're going to win the league, top of the table. We've come here and I thought we did great and at the very end, the fans were right with the players as well.

"Great credit to the players. We started the game ever so well, yet again. Regan Hendry, what a goal, I thought he was magnificent first half, absolutely gelled it together, complemented by Brad Walker in the middle of the pitch. They complement each other so well.

"I cannot eulogise enough about Connor Jennings. Wow. The industrious work of Harvey Saunders and his pace to get us up there and obviously Robbie Apter scores the winning goal!"



In recent years our home record against Tranmere has been nowhere near as good as our away results.

In fact, since the cataclysmic 5-0 beating we took in September 2001 which gave the board the opportunity to remove Brian Flynn as manager, we’ve won 5, drawn 1 and lost 1 at Prenton Park.

In North Wales, however, it’s a very different manner. You have to go all the way back to April 1988 for our last home win in this fixture. It was over as a contest pretty quickly as Kevin Russell opened the scoring in the 7th minute and Geoff Hunter doubled our lead 10 minutes later. Ollie Kearns rounded off the scoring in the last minute.

Since then we’ve entertained them 8 times, drawing 4 and losing 4. One of those defeats was a notable affair for all the wrong reasons as we lost 5-1, made memorable for it being part of Xabi Valero’s bizarre two and a half game stint between the sticks for Wrexham.

We’re looking for our first league double over Tranmere since 1975, when a last minute Mickey Thomas goal at The Racecourse and a Brian Tinnion goal at Prenton Park earned us a pair of 1-0 wins.

The last time they visited the Stok Cae Ras, there was plenty of early drama as we fell behind in the 9th minute, but were ahead 7 minutes later! Scott Quigley fired the equaliser home, and Chris Holroyd scored from the spot after Shaun Pearson was fouled. However, Andy Cook equalised in the initial minute of first half stoppage time, and surporisingly that was the end of the scoring.

Holroyd’s goal at Prenton Park in September 2017 ended a run of three consecutive losses against Tranmere, as the previous season we welcomed them to The Racecourse twice and lost 1-0 both times, in the National League and the FA Trophy.

Our first clash in the National League, in October 2015, was a 2-2 draw at The Stok Cae Ras. Robbie Evans gave us the lead in a match which quickly slipped out of our grasp. We were ahead for just eight minutes, and an expertly taken goal by Andy Mangan left us trailing with eight minutes left and looking out of ideas.

However, a crafty stunt by Connor Jennings, who ironically is now a Rovers player of course, earned us an equaliser. Having stopped playing to apparently tie his laces out on the flank, he stayed out wide and the Rovers defence seemed to forget he was out there until he received the ball and whipped in a cross which Joe Quigley slotted home neatly.

Our best win in this fixture came in April 1948, as we beat Rovers 6-0 with Dennis Grainger scoring one of only three hat tricks by a Wrexham player in 130 derbies. The others were scored by Charles McCartney in a 4-0 win in October 1935, and David Gregory in a 6-1 victory in March 1985 in the Associate Members Cup, which is now known as the Bristol Street Motors Trophy.


Accrington Stanley V Notts County
AFC Wimbledon V Newport County
Barrow V Harrogate Town
Bradford City V Mansfield Town
Colchester United V Walsall
Forest Green Rovers V Sutton United
Gillingham V Grimsby Town
Milton Keynes Dons V Crewe Alexandra
Swindon Town V Doncaster Rovers
After the top teams stuttered in midweek, a set of tricky Saturday fixtures will test them further. 5th entertains 4th as MK Dons face Crewe, while Mansfield travel to Bradford. Our tricky opponents from Tuesday, Harrogate, could do us a favour as they take their stubborn defence to Barrow, while 7th placed AFC Wimbledon face Newport County.

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