Tranmere Rovers [2.06] v Stevenage Borough [4.20], the draw [3.45]
Live on Sky Sports 1, Sunday 16:00
Stevenage Borough might have a new manager in place for Sunday according to recent reports, and if there was a market available, former boss Graham Westley would be a short price. Gary Smith was relieved of his duties following Tuesday's 2-0 defeat against Bury - the 33rd league manager to be sacked this season.
Tranmere's price is short enough to tempt the layers, but look nothing like the side that started the season with some rip-roaring wins. Three consecutive defeats saw them drop out of the top six recently for the first time in months, and a run of seven losses from their last 10 makes them avoidable this Sunday.
The price on Stevenage is tempting for two reasons. Firstly if the new manager is in place for the game (especially if it is Westley), the mood will be lifted after some patchy results.
And secondly, the patchy results themselves. Borough are the proverbial Jekyll and Hyde team who showed their wonderful inconsistency in the space of seven days. The midweek loss to Bury came off the back of their best league display of the season in beating Sheffield United 4-0. Dani Lopez scored a hat-trick in that, and yet was part of toothless attack at Gigg Lane just three days later.
None of the last 19 league games involving Stevenage have ended in a draw. Meanwhile Stevenage striker Lopez is the only player in the football league this season to score hat-tricks for two different teams (the other being Barnet).
These two have only ever met three times in their history. With a perfectly even record of a win each and a draw. The November meeting ended 1-1 - with both goals coming in the final 12 minutes.
Tranmere have struggled to replace the goal threat of young forward Jake Cassidy, who has returned to parent club Wolves following a successful loan spell. Reports are suggesting a loan striker might be signed before Sunday's kick-off, although one wonders about the quality of a player if they are available at this stage of the season.
Andy Robinson is out for the hosts with a hamstring injury, and Adam McGurk is unlikely to be fit.
I am quite prepared to take a chance on the visitors at nearly double the price here. Tranmere are not the same counter-attacking side they were at the start of the campaign, and injuries and loans (back to parent clubs) have certainly affected their form. The last time Tranmere featured on Sky was back in February, and lost at Prenton Park to Shrewsbury.
Unders and overs:
The host team are not firing at all, with just two goals in five games for Rovers, and they have been losing games at the wrong time of the season. Stevenage have only bagged 17 points from their last 69 available but were good enough to score four a week ago against Sheffield United. However, they are so inconsistent, I have lost faith in Dani Lopez after just one game!comments powered by Disqus