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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

0-3
19 September 2020 Venue Prenton Park Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Preview: Tranmere Rovers

18 September 2020

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It's another away trip in the early part of this season on Saturday as Cheltenham Town head to Tranmere Rovers (kick-off: 3pm).

Overall it's matchday five in the campaign, but in the new League Two season it's only the Robins second game in the division after a frustrating late opening day loss to Morecambe last weekend.

Michael Duff and his players will be determined to bounce back from that loss to the Shrimps by getting points on the board this weekend.

It is another tricky opening clash though against a Tranmere team under new management and who were playing a level above in League One last season.

The match is taking place behind closed doors because of covid-19. Please do not travel to the game. If you want to watch it then you are able to buy a match pass to view the game online on iFollow.

Team news

Defender Lewis Freestone is expected to continue being part of the squad after the summer signing returned from a foot problem on the bench at Millwall in midweek.

Goalkeeper Scott Flinders and defender Sean Long are the only long-term absentees in the squad.

There could be a number of changes from the team that started in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday evening with places up for grabs following defeat on the opening day.

Watch Michael Duff's pre-match press conference below:

Opposition

This is the fourth season in a row where Tranmere are playing in a new division. Last season they were relegated from League One after the points per game system was enforced after just a one season stay in the third tier having won promotion via the League Two play-offs the campaign before that.

That play-off victory, which came against Newport County in the 2018/19 campaign, followed a similar promotion from the National League 12 months before that.

They'll be aiming to make an immediate return to League One this season but will be doing it with a new manager. Mike Jackson is now in charge after Micky Mellon left in July for SPL side Dundee United. Jackson is familiar with the club though having served as Mellon's number two.

Their first match back in League Two last weekend saw them record a goalless draw at Mansfield Town.

In recent days they've brought in Kaiyne Woolery from Swindon Town. The speedy attacker was a part of the Swindon side that won promotion out of League Two last season, and he is added into a squad that already includes attacking lights Stefan Payne, Otis Khan and Danny Walker-Rice.

Another new recent arrival is experienced midfielder Liam Feeney who has higher level experience. Jay Spearing was also a notable summer capture. The midfielder started his career at Liverpool and has also represented Bolton Wanderers and Blackpool.

Defensively Liam Ridehalgh has been a Tranmere player for a number of years, while the powerful Manny Monthe has won promotion with them, as well as fellow centre back Mark Ellis who has plenty of Football League knowhow under his belt.

Manager

Mike Jackson was appointed manager at Tranmere in July. It's not his first job in management - he took charge at Shrewsbury Town back in the 2013/14 campaign for a few months where he saw his side slip into League Two when finishing in the drop zone.

Micky Mellon came in to replace him in Shropshire and he remained as assistant before joining Mellon at Tranmere in the same role.

With Mellon now having departed Jackson is back as the main man as number one in the dugout at Prenton Park.

As a player he most notably represented Preston North End over 250 times, while he also enjoyed lengthy spells with Bury and Tranmere and Blackpool having come through the youth ranks at the beginning of his career at Crewe Alexandra.

One to watch

The much travelled James Vaughan made Tranmere his permanent home in the summer after he ended last season on loan in League One with the Super White Army.

Now 32, the forward has played through all the levels and started in the Premier League at the age of 16 where he made history as the division's youngest goal scorer when he began his playing days with Everton.

He's also played for Norwich City, Derby County, Crystal Palace, Huddersfield Town, Bury, Sunderland, Wigan Athletic and Portsmouth.

He'll offer a huge threat as part of a dangerous front line in Tranmere's attack and has also previously represented England at under-21 level.

Watch the match on iFollow

Match passes for the game are available to buy online - ensuring you can watch the full 90 minutes.

Purchase a match pass for £10 and then login before kick-off to see how the action unfolds.

We recommend that fans buy well in advance of the match beginning to ensure a smooth process of logging into the match as web traffic amongst supporters across all EFL clubs will be high on Saturday afternoon.

Coverage

iFollow match passes are available for £10 and you can buy yours online ahead of the game. We recommend purchasing well in advance of kick-off due to the online traffic iFollow will receive in the lead up to the game getting underway.

You can also tune in to radio commentary on BBC Radio Gloucestershire, while staying up to date with updates on the club's social media channels throughout the day.

Post-match check out the club website for a report and reaction from the management and squad.

Extended highlights of the game will be available on Sunday exclusively on iFollow.

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Match Reports

Report & highlights: Tranmere Rovers 0-3 Robins

19 September 2020

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Cheltenham Town picked up their opening league win of the season in fine style at Tranmere Rovers.

All the damage was done before the break, scoring three goals to stun their hosts.

The Rovers side, narrowly relegated from League One last term, was packed full of experience and in Jay Spearing's case, Champions League pedigree but they couldn't live with Michael Duff's side.

They were quite simply brilliant in the opening 45 minutes, racing into a big lead thanks to goals by Charlie Raglan, Andy Williams – his first for the club – and an own goal by Paul Lewis.

After the break they were well organised, dogged and resilient to see off the contest and secure their first three points of the campaign.

Just as pleasing was the clean sheet for Josh Griffiths in goal.

It's been a slog so far, with four of the Robins' opening five matches coming on the road but this was the best performance of the lot so far.

It was also the first time they had won three on their travels since 2011.

"I thought we were as good as we were in the first 30 minutes last week [after Morecambe] but we didn't come off it today," said Duff.

"To go three-nil up in any league is excellent, and then we showed the other side of it. They had nothing to lose and went gung-ho, launching it into the box. We'd already won the game so we just had to protect it it so I was delighted with the clean sheet, and delighted for Josh [Griffiths].

Duff made three changes to the side that started at Millwall on Tuesday. In came Finn Azaz, the goalscorer that evening, while George Lloyd and Andy Williams started in attack in place of Alfie May and

The Robins were in total control in the opening 45 minutes and took the lead as early as the sixth minute, Raglan rising highest to meet Chris Hussey's perfect corner with a firm header.

Williams made it two 14 minutes later, racing onto Azaz's ball and beating Scott Davies from the angle.

And they extended their advantage six minutes before the interval, this time courtesy of Clarke's own goal after Liam Sercombe had sent in a corner from the left.

The hosts were floundering and made their first change before the break, replacing Mark Ellis with Liam Feeney. Immediately there was a chance when James Vaughan was presented with a headed chance but the striker missed the target from a great position. He missed a similar effort around the hour mark.

Meanwhile Hussey was called into a vital intervention to prevent a goal in the opening exchanges of the second half, denying Liam Feeney on the edge of the box with Josh Griffiths committed.

Tranmere were better in the second half but Cheltenham defended resolutely, and Griffiths didn't have a save to make. Lloyd forced Davies into a low save from a tight angle, while Raglan went close to heading home Hussey's inch-perfect corner, missing the left upright by a matter of inches.

TRANMERE ROVERS (3-5-2): Davies (c); Ellis (Feeney 36), Clarke, Monthe; O'Connor, Morris, Spearing (Banks 82), Lewis, Ridehalgh; Vaughan, Khan (Payne 82). Subs not used: Murphy, Nelson, MacDonald, Ray.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Griffiths; Raglan, Tozer (c), Boyle; Blair, Azaz (Bonds 65), Thomas, Sercombe, Hussey; Williams, Lloyd (Freestone 83). Subs not used: Clements, Reid, Campbell, Harris (Gk), Horton.

REFEREE: C Boyeson

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