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After a long hiatus Mark is back with a new story. Where will it take him?

Discussion
https://i.postimg.cc/L8TDrKYd/500miles.png

Current Managerial Career Snapshot


Domestic Managerial Jobs:
https://i.postimg.cc/9FMgXzpq/scottishflag.png Edinburgh City: 8 July 2018 - 28 August 2020
https://i.postimg.cc/C55yNXP3/Finland-Flag.png Ilves Tampere: 28 August 2020 - 1 December 2021
https://i.postimg.cc/GpWCtgjf/French-Flag.png Le Mans: 25 January 2022 - 24 May 2023
https://i.postimg.cc/1tGcjM7S/England-Flag.png Tranmere Rovers: 24 May 2023 - present

International Managerial Jobs:
https://i.postimg.cc/NMgvy51f/welshflag.png Wales Under 21: 9 August 2020 - present

Awards Won:
2018-2020 (Edinburgh City): Manager of Month - 7, Trophies Lifted - 2, Manager of the Year - 0*
2020-2021 (Ilves): Manager of Month - 4, Trophies Lifted - 2, Manager of the Year - 1
2022-2023 (Le Mans): Manager of Month - 0**, Trophies Lifted - 1, Manager of the Year - 1

* - No Manager of the Year awards in the Scottish League One and Two
** - No Manager of the Month awards in Championnat National
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

https://i.postimg.cc/3r4p65Qz/lisbonlionssig.png
Congratulations on getting the league title mate! Wasn't expecting you to switch teams though! Good luck in England.
Part of me wishes you took the Vancouver post but I wish you all the best at Tranmere @HockeyBhoy.
https://i.postimg.cc/bYxN6HZY/tranmererovers-logo.png

The Press Conference


Mark Palios: Many thanks for attending this press conference. As you can see on my right is Mark Duell, our new First Team Manager. Mark will now take some questions from you and we will start with Tom Cavilla of the Liverpool Echo.

Tom Cavilla, Liverpool Echo: First of all Mark, a warm welcome here to you at Tranmere. What's persuaded you to come here rather than sign a new contract with a team that you have just won a league title with?

MD: Thank you for the greeting Tom. Yeah it's a bit unusual to do what I have done but there were circumstances behind the scenes, which I won't elaborate on, which meant I haven't stayed in France. Tranmere Rovers are the perfect fit for me in my career and I'm so excited to be here.

Ian Hughes, BBC Radio Merseyside: You have had an interesting career so far with spells in Scotland, Finland and France. Is this a case of coming home?

MD: You could say that yes. I have always wanted to be managing at some point in England so I'm really grateful to Mark (Palios) for seeing something in me that makes it a reality.

Peter Stevenson, Sky Sports: Mark, there are few stories abounding that you have a reputation of breaking promises with players. How true is this?

MD: I'm not going to deny it, it's actually true and the chairman is aware of that. But let me tell you this, whatever decision I have taken is for the good of the player and most of all: the good of the football club I am managing at. It's always taken with the best interests at heart and that's that really.

David Chisnall, ITV: You face a hard task trying to get Rovers back into the Football League with very little in terms of transfer budget. Are you confident you can do it?

MD: I always believe in my abilities to be honest, and the issue of a small transfer budget is quite simply immaterial. All my previous clubs have had this situation and it's not hindered what I have achieved. We have a good set up at the Club itself and two very highly rated parent clubs whom we can approach, it's something that is far from impossible and I will be doing everything I can to get this Club back where it belongs.

TC: What kind of football can the Rovers fans expect to see?

MD: It'll be hard working and determined for sure. We will be looking at our strengths and assess what our opponents are like and come out on top. I have a tried and trusted style but you're going to have to wait and see until the first pre-season game to see what we're going to be made of.

IH: You inherit a squad which has four players already wanting to leave after relegation. Does this bother you?

MD: Of course the squad is down in the dumps after relegation, that's for sure. As for the four players, I'll be sitting down with each of them and if they still want out then I'll respect them for that as it's their decision. But if they stay then great, we will have to pull in the same direction and hopefully we can be successful. Team work makes the dream work as I always say.

PT: Do you plan to be here for long term or will you be on your travels again if it doesn't work out?

MD: I plan to be here for as long as Mark wants me to be here.

MP: Well that concludes the press conference, thank you all for your time. We will now go outside for the obligatory photographs.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

https://i.postimg.cc/3r4p65Qz/lisbonlionssig.png
Congratulations on getting the league title mate! Wasn't expecting you to switch teams though! Good luck in England.

Well I would have stayed mate if they had given me decent transfer funds. I would have to completely overhaul the squad in Ligue 2 to stay up. But Tranmere is a new challenge, my first one in England.

Part of me wishes you took the Vancouver post but I wish you all the best at Tranmere @HockeyBhoy.

I would have liked it too to be honest but they didn't offer me it in the end. Maybe MLS will come calling later in the career, who knows? Thanks for the warm wishes.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

https://i.postimg.cc/3r4p65Qz/lisbonlionssig.png
https://i.postimg.cc/bJg5BxtY/Sky-Sports-Header-V1-2.png


Final squad announced

Last Updated: 31/05/2023 12:00pm

Wales Under-21 manager Mark Duell today released his final 23 man squad for this season's European Under-21 Championships in Italy. Five players needed to be axed with Nathan Evans, Jordan Conway, Gwydion Astley, Keith Young and Jonathan MacDonald being the unlucky ones to miss out. The final squad is therefore as follows:.

Goalkeepers:
Scott Williams (Scunthorpe United)
Jack Jackson (Cardiff City)
David Robson (Hull City)

Defenders:
Jamie Evans (Lincoln City)
Jonathan Letheren (Newport County, on loan from Swansea City)
Sam Edwards (Swansea City)
Tom McCarthy (Northampton Town, on loan from Cardiff City)
George Armstrong (Portsmouth)
Stuart Wright (Swansea City)
Josh Hill (Notts County, on loan from Cardiff City)

Midfielders:
Lloyd Holden (Rotherham United, on loan from Aston Villa)
Dewi Coates (Connah's Quay Nomads)
Owen Beck (TNS)
Dion Tipton (Bangor City)
Darren Hewitt (Sheffield Wednesday)
Craig Sampson (Cardiff City)
Sion Pulis (Bangor City)
John Eaton (Colchester United)
Cory Bond (Swansea City)

Strikers:
Ian Branch (Cardiff City)
Sam Hall (Stoke City)
Andrew Berry (Bristol Rovers, on loan from Swansea City)
Russell Burton (Cardiff City)
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

https://i.postimg.cc/3r4p65Qz/lisbonlionssig.png
https://i.postimg.cc/zGtQ70yG/friendlies.png


So we had a couple of friendlies in June for my Welsh starlets. These were to be our warm up games ahead of the Euro Finals, and gave me an insight to what I have at my disposal now I have lost the nucleus of the team that had done so well to reach said Finals.

Thursday 8 June 2023
https://i.postimg.cc/3N9CFBnw/Wales-U21-Friendly8623.png

The first of those warm up games took place in Heerenveen as we faced the latest in the Dutch talent pool. It was probably the best test we could have and compare to the Spanish team we face in the Finals. Predictably the Dutch won thanks to a hat-trick from PSV wonderkid Dean Hertogh, so no shame there. That said new starting goalkeeper Jack Jackson saved a Chris Weiss penalty midway in the first half when it was still 0-0. We could have scored too, if only Jon Eaton (scorer of the goal that took us to Italy) had had his goalscoring boots on as he missed a couple of clear cut chances in the second half.

Wednesday 14 June 2023
https://i.postimg.cc/wjNR62Ls/Wales-U21-Friendly14623.png

A crowd of 10500 were at the Racecourse in Wrexham to watch our second warm up game and give the young Dragons a good send off before the trip to Italy. Like the first warm up game, we failed to win but there were some positives to take from it. Inter Milan's Pawel Wojtysiak gave the Poles a 23rd minute lead when he took advantage of a lucky bounce to fire the ball beyond a stranded Jackson. However two minutes later, skipper Lloyd Holden equalised for us with an unstoppable effort from the edge of the area. Wojtysiak restored the away lead before half time when he stooped to head home. This coming just minutes after Andrew Berry had a penalty saved by Sampdoria's Tomasz Marciniak.

Marciniak was the hero again for his nation early in the second half when he saved a second penalty we were awarded, defensive midfielder Sion Pulis denied this time out. The win was clinched in the closing stages when Czerwinski's shot was too hot for substitute keeper David Robson to handle and Patryk Peda of Legia tapped home.

Attention now heads towards the Finals and if we can get some points then personally I will consider it a huge success considering how asset stripped my squad is from what I wanted it to be.

The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

https://i.postimg.cc/3r4p65Qz/lisbonlionssig.png
https://i.postimg.cc/6pwxHTgr/Uefa-U21-Championships.jpg

A recap of the Wales Under-21 games at the recent Finals held in Italy.

Tuesday 20 June 2023
https://i.postimg.cc/MZg5R4Lr/Wales-U21-20623.png

Our tournament began against the favourites Spain, and to be honest we were knew we up against it before a ball had been kicked. Now if we could keep it respectable then perhaps it wouldn't be too bad. Alas Spain and their wonderkids were in no mood to be nice to the newcomers to the Finals stage. The surprising thing was that it took them 13 minutes to open the scoring, Villarreal's Juan Andrés Morales with the goal. Eight minutes later we had gone from 0-1 to 0-4 as the Spanish took our youngsters apart with ruthless precision; Malaga's Antonio Jesûs (16, 21) and Betis' Jose Antonio Ayala (18) being on target. Two after Jesûs had scored his second goal, we had something to cheer about when TNS' Owen Beck set up Bangor City's Dion Tipton to volley home from around the penalty spot. Tipton was one of the few who came out of this hammering with some credit.

But that was about as good it got as Spain added a fifth in first half added on time from Levante's Baldo Morcillo. There was little respite in the second half as Valencia's Blas (66), Zaragoza's Rafa (69) and Morcillo's second of the match (72) extended it to 8-1 in the Spanish favour. There was still time for Jesûs to complete a hat-trick with nine minutes to go but it had been a harsh welcoming. If it had been a boxing bout, the referee would have halted it early. A shot count of 29-7 says everything.

Friday 23 June 2023
https://i.postimg.cc/8zSbXvNR/Wales-U21-23623.png

Our second game would be against fellow home country Scotland and I thought we might stand a bit of a chance. Perhaps we could break our points duck here and give ourselves a fighting chance for a last day decider for second place? Unfortunately for us, the young Scots took us apart from start to finish and ended the game with a shot count of 25-4 in their favour. They opened the scoring as early as the seventh minute when Kilmarnock's Ross Williamson steered in from close range following a corner kick routine. However if it wasn't for the athletic goalkeeping of Scott Williams (I'd given him the nod ahead of a shell shocked Jack Jackson), we could have had another serious beating. Scotland scored a second just before the half hour when Josh Hill had been adjudged to have fouled Ross Adams as they challenged for a corner; Partick's Bobby Barbour made no mistake from the spot despite Williams getting close to it.

Their third came midway through the second half when Dunfermline's Jim Holmes blasted in from 20 yards, so two defeats from two. This tournament was turning into a bit of nightmare and left me wondering what we might have achieved if we had had all our big guns available for selection.

Monday 26 June 2023
https://i.postimg.cc/PJDm2X7V/Wales-U21-26623.png

Our final game was against the Danes who had been in our qualifying group. Once more we were heavily outshot, 21-5, but it was two late goals in the final 17 minutes that proved to be our undoing. The first came after 73 minutes when Martin Hansen headed in just outside the six yard box virtually unmarked. The clincher came ten minutes later when Mads Skibsted latched on a loose clearance of his own cross to place the ball into the far corner. There was to be no way back after that and we now head back to Wales with this experience behind us and attempt to regroup ahead of a new campaign starting in September.

For your information, this is the final table:

https://i.postimg.cc/rF6Gz4dB/Wales-U21-2023-Finals-Table.png

The tournament itself was won by the Danes, they defeated the Dutch 2-1 in the Final.



The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

https://i.postimg.cc/3r4p65Qz/lisbonlionssig.png
https://i.postimg.cc/y6J7c5G2/Tranmere-Web-Header.png

Rovers release ten following relegation


30 June 2023

Tranmere Rovers today confirmed that ten players have left the Club following its relegation to the National League in a statement read out by Director of Football Gareth Sproule.

"Today, Tranmere Rovers can advise that ten players have left the club on the expiry of their contracts. We thank each of the ten players in question for their service here at Prenton Park and wish them all collectively the best for their futures."

The biggest name on the list is Swedish defender Gustav Jarl (pictured below). The Swede, who joined us in the summer of 2020 from Doncaster Rovers, made 34 appearances for Rovers last season in all competitions and adding one goal. He accumulated 91 games in total with two goals to his name, and was reputedly one of the four players said to be wanting out as soon as relegation was confirmed.


https://i.postimg.cc/J4ygCZfS/jarl.jpg
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

https://i.postimg.cc/3r4p65Qz/lisbonlionssig.png
https://i.postimg.cc/rz69k0WL/LEquipe.png

CHARRUAU: I NEARLY MOVED ON

30 June 2023 at 15:00 hours

https://i.postimg.cc/Hk9F6dDL/Charruau.png

Goalkeeper Paul Charruau has admitted that he almost hopped across the water in what he terms "an ambitious move"

The former Le Mans stopper, now a free agent after his contract was not renewed by the National champions, had an offer from an unexpected source:

"As soon as it became known that Le Mans were not keen on giving me a new deal I started to consider my options carefully indeed. Then one morning my phone rang and it was Mark (Duell) who was my former manager at Le Mans on the other end. He had just moved back to England unexpectedly after our promotion but was preparing an ambitious move to bring me to his new club as his number one keeper.

Considering he hardly played me last season, I was really surprised.

We did a deal though but work permit regulations in England failed to get it over the line. His new club appealed the decision but it didn't come off, and Mark then tried to talk me around personally again. However, I've declined his offer and am still here in France looking for a new team who I won't let down given the chance."
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

https://i.postimg.cc/3r4p65Qz/lisbonlionssig.png
https://i.postimg.cc/y6J7c5G2/Tranmere-Web-Header.png

Pre-Season Schedule confirmed


3 July 2023

The players are back in training and the Club is now gearing up for a new season. As a result, new manager Mark Duell; his assistant Michael Jackson and Director of Football Gareth Sproule have been busy planning out a pre-season schedule for the team. The guys have come up with a four home and four away schedule which they think will bode well for the season starting on 12 August.

The schedule is as follows:

https://i.postimg.cc/Gt34scCs/TRFC-PSF202324.png

We begin the schedule on Wednesday night at Ewen Fields when we are hosted by Hyde United of the Northern Premier League Premier Division. Following on from this, the team have six days to prepare for their next game which is against near neighbours and North West Counties League Division One South Cammell Laird 1907 FC whom we struck up an arrangement with over the last few years. The first of four consecutive home friendlies start on the Saturday after the Cammell game when League One side Peterborough United visit Prenton Park.

We then host League Two side Scunthorpe United in a midweek game before another Saturday encounter against another League One side in the shape of Ipswich Town. Then comes the one we're all excited about, a home friendly against Liverpool no less! Of course the Reds first team will be busy somewhere in the world so we're delighted that their Under 23 side is willing to pit their wits against Mark's new look side.

The schedule finishes with two away games, one at Vauxhall Motors on the final Saturday in July and then on the first Saturday in August we conclude our preparations with a trip to Curzon Ashton. We hope to see you at some, if not at all, of these games especially the home ones.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

https://i.postimg.cc/3r4p65Qz/lisbonlionssig.png
https://i.postimg.cc/7Y9SYWSR/Vanarma-Nat-League.png

3 July 2023

The opening day fixtures of the new 2023-24 Vanarama National League have been released by the computer. They are as follows:

https://i.postimg.cc/J7Jqmx6w/Nat-League-Opening-Day.png

One of the appetising ones that sticks out is Hartlepool United hosting Tranmere Rovers at Victoria Park. Hartlepool, under the managerial tutelage of former 80s Queens Park Rangers midfielder Gary Waddock, face a Rovers side who have Hartlepool born Mark Duell installed at the helm. Other appetising games include a Midlands battle between Solihull Moors and Port Vale and AFC Fylde taking on Gateshead.

For those interested in derbies, we have to wait until the second weekend of the season when Gateshead take on Hartlepool and then on 4 September Wrexham make the short trip to Tranmere.

Now who's ready for 12 August?

The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

https://i.postimg.cc/3r4p65Qz/lisbonlionssig.png
https://i.postimg.cc/bYxN6HZY/tranmererovers-logo.png

Pre-Season Round Up: Part One


https://i.postimg.cc/7PcjnTnP/TRFC-PSFResults1.png

So we're finally in place at Prenton Park, and have played the first four of eight pre-season friendlies ahead of the big kick off.

We began proceedings with a trip down the East Lancs Road to face Hyde United, and it was a good workout for us. Thomas Hanlon, whom we have signed on a season long loan from Championship side Sheffield United started in goal as well there being a second debut for Harrison Howard who returns to the club on a similar deal from Ipswich Town. Playing my now tried and trusted 4-1-4-1 formation, two goals in the latter stages of the first half secured the win and comfortably enough too. On 35 minutes, central midfielder Ollie Banks got his head onto a Paul Mullin corner to put us ahead. Four minutes later, we added a second when triallist Ryan "Deadpool" Reynolds lofted the ball forward and young Jake Collier finished well. Those were the only goals but there was a sad note, young attacking midfielder Carlo Banks limped off in first half injury time with a pulled calf muscle which will sideline him for around 2-3 weeks.

Our second friendly was against Cammell Laird 1907, a local non-league side that we have developed a partnership with. I chose to give the majority of my fringe players the start in this game played in front of a capacity crowd at the Kirklands Stadium where 1400 of the 2000 were Rovers fans. The reserves didn't let me or the club down though as they took the home side apart with ruthlessness. As soon as Louis Bradley headed in after just three minutes, you had the feeling it could be a goal glut from us. So it proved with James Booth scoring a 17 minute hat-trick, and further goals from young Turkish striker Ridvan Polat and midfielder Callum Harris. We made a full team change after 50 minutes to ensure everyone got a game. Collier added a penalty midway through that second half to make it 7-0 and although Caldon Bennai scored a consolation with four minutes left, Collier scored his second of the evening in time added on to make it 8-1 and complete a good night's work.

Our first home friendly would then follow as we hosted League One side Peterborough United. We made a good start to be honest and took the lead after just 12 minutes; Cedwyn Scott with a well weighted pass into the path of Collier who took a touch before blasting the ball into the roof of the net. I get the feeling already that he could be a very useful goalscoring threat in the season ahead if we gel and as a club; we can keep hold of him. However Peterborough would score twice to lead at the break thanks to Jared Townrow and a harsh penalty converted by Matt Godden which went in off the post. Two more Peterborough goals added extra gloss to their win thanks to Billy Cox and Townrow's second but I was still seeing some positives for sure.

Our second home pre-season game was a bit of bitter pill to swallow in the end as we failed to take advantage of a Scunthorpe United side reduced to ten men after just seven minutes! We took the lead from the penalty spot after Ben Clark-Eden had been dismissed for a professional four as Collier broke clear; Collier picking himself up to find the bottom left hand corner of the net for his 5th goal in 4 pre-season games. Four minutes later Alex Denny put us two ahead with a nice finish from the edge of the area and it all looked good. I seriously had no question to panic even when former Sheffield Wednesday youngster Connor Kirby pulled one back for the Iron with a penalty of their own after 17 minutes. Yet shortly after starting the second half, Rob Hunter made it 2-2 when he latched onto a ball over the top to score. Then just as we looked like shaking hands on a draw, they grabbed the winner when Stuart Williams headed in from a Mats Searle corner. Gutted.

I've also taken a few players on trial to try and improve the squad. Currently trying to get a deal with the club are Ryan "Deadpool" Reynolds whom I've worked with in the Welsh Under-21's so hopefully he can impress again. Also on trial are Serbian born but now raised in England central defender Lazar Stolsavljevic (try saying that name when you're drunk) and Swiss striker Lorent Tolaj. We did agree terms to sign my former keeper Paul Charruau on a free from Le Mans and Swedish central defender Joel Ekstrand who was released by Forest Green Rovers at the end of last season. However, we couldn't get work permits so both deals are dead as dodos. But I'll keep looking.

The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

https://i.postimg.cc/3r4p65Qz/lisbonlionssig.png
https://i.postimg.cc/y6J7c5G2/Tranmere-Web-Header.png

Iversen signs for Rovers


20 July 2023

https://i.postimg.cc/1zSYWktJ/Einar-Iversen.jpg

The Club can today confirm the signing of Norwegian midfielder Einar Iversen on a six month loan from Aston Villa.

Iversen, 22, who started his professional career across the Mersey at Everton will add creativity to the Rovers midfield and looks an exciting capture. He joined Villa on a free transfer last season from the Toffees but is yet to make an appearance for the Midlands based outfit. Last season saw Iversen play on loan back in Norway with Odd BK but this was a move that apparently didn't work out as planned for the player.

Villa have given permission for Iversen to compete in cup competitions for us but there is a recall clause in the deal should they wish. Please welcome Einar to Prenton Park and we hope he enjoys his time here. #WelcomeIversen
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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https://i.postimg.cc/prW2Kxs4/skybet.png

National League Odds released

https://i.postimg.cc/PqQLnwM1/NL-Odds-202324.png

We've been busy like the football teams and been working out who we think might win the National League crown in 2023-24.

At the moment, we cannot look past AFC Fylde, John Eustace's men are as short as 2-5 to take the title this season. Of the two relegated clubs, Carlisle United are 5-2 and Tranmere Rovers are priced at 7-2.

Chesham United are the outsiders of the pack, they are priced at 100-1.

Who is your money on?
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

https://i.postimg.cc/3r4p65Qz/lisbonlionssig.png
Looking forward to the battle to return to the league! Good luck!
Thanks @siepod - hopefully we can do it!

https://i.postimg.cc/bYxN6HZY/tranmererovers-logo.png

Pre-Season Round Up: Part Two


https://i.postimg.cc/XNCqryvt/TRFC-PSFResults2.png

The second part of the pre-season fixtures rounded up.

Our penultimate home friendly was against League One side Ipswich Town whom we have a partnership with. After the 4-1 reverse against their divisional rivals Peterborough and the collapse in midweek against League Two Scunthorpe, I was expecting a response. Safe to say, I got it. We more than matched our illustrious visitors and took the lead after 18 minutes when Jake Collier crossed low from the left and Paul Mullin fired in at the near post. A well worked team goal. They equalised six minutes before the interval though, an unstoppable effort from Jorge Grant which just rocketed past our on-loan keeper Thomas Hanlon. Neither side could get the go ahead goal after this and both sides shook hands on an entertaining 1-1 draw.

We finished our batch of home friendlies with the prestigious one of all, a visit from Neil Critchley's Liverpool Under-23 side. Almost 15000 were inside Prenton Park to watch this and it was a tremendous boost to the club's finances that I can tell you. The young Reds took the lead after four minutes when Rhian Brewster scored from the penalty spot after Curtis Jones had been fouled in the area. They doubled the lead on the quarter hour, young German Daniel Fehling with a clean strike that beat Hanlon all ends up. Yet despite having 26 shots and the majority of the possession: they couldn't broach our defence for a third time. We battled hard and just as the fourth official was going to appear with his board, we scored a consolation to really appease the home support. An attack had the Reds defence in a bit of a fluster and the ball found its way to highly rated youngster Carlo Banks who drilled in a fine finish. It ended 2-1 to the visitors but we had seen a number of positives for sure.

Our penultimate friendly was at Vauxhall Motors and we drove away with another win. The scoring was opened after just three minutes when the home keeper couldn't hold onto a shot by loanee Einar Iversen and the young Norwegian scored at the second attempt. We dominated proceedings from start to finish and added a second just after the half hour when a cross to the back stick from James Booth was headed back by Banks to young Turkish striker Ridvan Polat who finished from just outside teh six yard box. They pulled one back with one of their only two shots, and it came in first half injury when Jon Murray went in a bit strong and the referee had no hesitation to award a penalty which Andrew Millington converted past Bayleigh Passant.

We turned the heat up in the second half with four goals to finish 6-1 winners. Banks headed in goal number three from an acute angle after 52 minutes before substitute Mullin scored the fourth midway through the second half with a penalty drilled straight down the middle. It had been given for a foul on him too. The nap hand was complete eight minutes from time when Mullin scored his second of the game after a wonderful cross from Cedwyn Scott. The goal of the game was still worth waiting for and it came in the 87th minute, Passant with a long goal kick which was brought down brilliantly by young Marcus Sammons who then took a couple of touches before crashing home an unstoppable 25 yarder.

The preparations were concluded with a trip to Curzon Ashton, and we would finish pre-season with a 4-1-3 record after a 4-1 win. I guess the big surprise was that it took us 32 minutes to open the scoring as we wasted chance after chance beforehand, Goerge Alfieri with the cross and Alex Denny with a nice header into the far corner. They levelled with the first attack of the second half which was a calamity for Joseph Joseph; yes that's his real name; the defender's mistake being pounced on by Liam Bailey whose effort was unstoppable as it went by Passant. We regained the lead eight minutes later when Iversen produced an amazing no look pass into Mullin who struck it fiercely first time into the bottom corner.

We secured the win with two goals in the final stages and both came from a familiar face to me personally, my former Edinburgh City captain and star striker Blair Henderson who I've taken on trial. Blair was certainly on the air as he exploded into the game as Curzon tired. His first came after 87 minutes when he latched onto a long ball from Denny to shoot past the advancing keeper. Then two minutes later, he had his second when he fired in from twelve yards after Scott had set him up.

So that's pre-season done with. Now for the big kick-off!
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Updates continue to be excellent mate! Surprised youve not stepped down from the wales role yet, doesnt seem to be going anywhere from my point of view
Updates continue to be excellent mate! Surprised youve not stepped down from the wales role yet, doesnt seem to be going anywhere from my point of view


I’m going to give it one last campaign with them. If nothing positive happens then I’ll probably concentrate on the club side.

Thanks for the continued support and kind words; I try my best
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Meet the Backroom Team - Senior Squad


The backroom team here at Prenton Park is headed by Northern Irishman Gareth Sproule. Gareth, 44, spent most of his career in his native Northern Ireland playing in the lower leagues as a striker for Dergview. Dergview is a club that has a lot of family connections for his family, with his late father and brothers having played for the team as well. His well known brother is Ivan Sproule Junior who had a noted short career with Hibs in the professional game, scoring against both Glasgow giants, and picking up 11 caps for the national team.

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Not to be confused with the late American pop star. Mike, enjoyed a career as a defender and notably at Preston North End where he made over 200 appearances in two spells. He retired at the end of the 2008-09 season and after a spell at Shrewsbury Town, where he managed the Shrews for a short stint. He returned to Prenton Park in October 2016 as assistant to then manager Micky Mellon. He had spell out of football but is now back in the number two spot to Mark Duell and continuing his love affair with Rovers.

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Rodger Wylde is one of the most experienced physiotherapists in the game these days. As a player, he started off his career with his beloved Sheffield Wednesday for whom he played for eight seasons before moving onto Oldham Athletic for three more seasons. A short spell in Portugal with Sporting Lisbon followed with another short spell at Sunderland. Rodger would finish his career with Barnsley, Rotherham United (on loan) and Stockport County. His first physiotherapist role came at the age of 31 with his final playing club, Stockport County, a post he held for 13 years. He joined Chesterfield for three years after leaving Edgeley Park and became Head Physiotherapist here at Rovers in July 2018 after a 13 month break from the game.

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Welshman Lee Jones began his playing career at hometown club Wrexham in 1989. His breakthrough attracted the attention of then Reds boss Graeme Souness but his chances were brief and he was released after four seasons and just three appearances. He had spent spells on loan whilst at Anfield and it was Tranmere who snapped him up when he was surplus to requirements. Jones continued to play until 2008 before he became Under 18s coach at Wrexham. It was a role he would hold for eight years before he took the role he has now at Prenton Park.

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Andy Impey is a player most well known for football fans in London where he had six seasons playing for his beloved Queens Park Rangers as a winger or a full back due to his pace. He was also an integral part of the Leicester City side who beat, ironically Tranmere Rovers, in the 2000 League Cup Final thanks to a brace of goals from defender Matt Elliott. He retired from playing in 2006 after a 15 season career which saw him make over 400 league appearances for six different teams. He joined Rovers this summer as a free agent when Mark Duell looked to bolster his backroom team.

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Nothing much needs to be said about Eric Nixon, for he is an all time club legend. As a player he made over 400 appearances in between the sticks for Rovers and was a key figure when the club had their remarkable surge up the divisions in the late 80s and early 90s. He finally hung up the gloves in 2003, and in 2004 was first appointed to the role that he holds today. He did have similar spells with Fleetwood and Chesterfield in the same capacity, but was back at Prenton Park in the summer of 2017.

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The senior backroom squad is completed by another Welshman in the shape of Andy Evans. Evans started his career at Cardiff City, making 15 appearances for the Bluebirds over two seasons. However, his footballing career was mainly consigned to non-league bar short spells in the professional game again with Barnsley, Mansfield Town and the now defunct Chester City FC. His first coaching role came as Under 18s coach at home town club Aberystwyth Town in 2011, before holding similar roles at Cefn Druids and Kettering, prior to becoming one of Mark Duell's first backroom signings on the new manager's appointment.
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Meet the Backroom Team - Under 23s and Under 18s


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The Rovers Under 23 team are managed by Steve Watson. Steve had a long career in the top divisions which started with Newcastle United; the team he supported as a boy. He spent 8 seasons at St. James Park before joining Aston Villa for a £4 million fee in October 1998. His spell in the Midlands was brief before he was signed by Everton in 2000 for a five year stint. Short stints at West Brom and Sheffield Wednesday followed by he retired in 2009. He had stints in coaching at Birmingham, Huddersfield Town and Macclesfield Town before being appointed as Gateshead manager in October 2017 but was sacked in May 2021. Steve joined Rovers this summer.

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The manager of Rovers is another former Rovers player in Andy Parkinson. "Parky" started his career here in 1995 and enjoyed a decent spell before joining Sheffield United in the summer of 2003. Unfortunately his soujourn in Sheffield was brief and he was on the move after less than a year. He then drifted around the lower leagues before concluding his playing career in 2014. He took on the role as the Under 18s manager in July 2015 and has been the incumbent ever since.

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Born in Hartlepool, Andrew Taylor is best known as a Middlesbrough player rather than anywhere else. He spent almost a decade at the Riverside, making over 100 appearances for the Teessiders. Loan spells at Bradford City and Watford punctuated that spell before he moved onto Cardiff for a three year stint. Short spells at Bolton, Wigan, Reading, Bradford (again) and at DC United followed before a stint at Billericay saw him end his playing days in May 2021. This is his first coaching role as Parkinson's assistant.

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Ian Willcock is the Under18s goalkeeper coach, a position he has held here since July 2018. His brief playing career saw him turn out for Morecambe, Caernarfon Town and Colwyn Bay before he hung the boots up at the early age of 25. His first coaching role came at Accrington in June 2007 as their goalkeeping coach,a position he subsequently held at Rochdale, Barnsley and Bury before joining us.

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Guy Bates is another new face at Prenton Park this summer. His playing career started at Newcastle United but he failed to make the grade at the Magpies. A nomadic career followed with spells in Austraila, Belgium and the Republic of Ireland before he finished his playing career in Northern Ireland with Glenavon at the age of 31. This is his first stint in coaching, and he shares the same birthday as Mark (Duell).

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Kevin Nugent had a playing career which lasted almost 20 seasons. In that time he made almost 500 league appearances and plundered 115 goals for five different sides. He has managed both Barnet and Dover whilst also holding coaching roles at both Swansea and Leyton Orient (whom he played for) as well as Luton Town, Millwall and Charlton Athletic. He joined Rovers this summer.

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Kevin Oxby is the physiotherapist for the Under 18 squad. Kevin joined Rovers in the summer of 2018 after he had taken a two year sabbatical from the game. His first role as a physiotherapist was with home town club Lincoln City whom he was appointed as Under 18s physiotherapist in June 2006. He subsequently became first team physiotherapist in the summer of 2009, a role he held for seven seasons.
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Season 2023-24 Expectations


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So this what Mark Palios expects this season from me in my first foray into management here.

Looking at the squad I have at my disposal, I think there is a good chance we can meet these targets if not exceed them. The squad can quite easily make the top half of the table, if not challenge for a play-off position providing I can keep the majority of them. They have adapted well to my 4-1-2-2-1 style which is going to be the primary tactic we will be playing, but I'm working on a secondary one which Michael (Jackson) thinks we will need. Maybe a 4-1-4-1 or a 4-5-1 will be deployed should we need it.

The FA Cup target is very much reachable, we only have to win one game to make that happen. However if we can reach the third round and draw a Premiership side at home then that will be fantastic.

We will have to win two games to reach the FA Trophy target, Again I think this can be done due to the squad we have. Maybe we could reach Wembley which is the ultimate prize in this competition? That would be really amazing but we just don't have to complicate our fixture list too much so we are in the middle of a fixture pile up as the season comes to its natural end.

The final competition is the Irn-Bru Cup, a competition I recall from my Edinburgh City days. The target there can be achieved in just one game but the further we can go then the better. To me that's the competition I'm least bothered about but we'll be giving a good go anyway.

Wish us luck!
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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The FA Trophy target always makes me laugh, the expectations seem to be disproportionate in the lower leagues for that and the FA Cup. Sure first season I was expected something like FA Cup 1st or 2nd round, and I was in all qualifiers first with a threadbare squad before I brought in all my players. Good luck for the season. I've never been in the Irn-Bru cup, well jealous
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Hamilton test for Rovers

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Rovers today learned their opponents in this season's Irn-Bru Cup. They have been drawn away to Scottish Championship Hamilton Academical, and manager Mark Duell admits this is as tough as they could have asked for.

"Well that's not easy at all, it's as tough as they get.

Hamilton have played in the top division in Scotland, and represent a tough opponent for us. We have to go there and step up our game to progress, and this team has this ability to do this. They will be looking forward to it.

If we can play the game as good as we can, then there's no reason why we can't progress."

The game will be played at the Superseal Stadium on 9 September 2023 with a 3:00pm kick-off
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Henderson signs on the dotted line

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Rovers supporters got their first view of new striker Blair Henderson after he was unveiled to the support at Prenton Park before the home game against Macclesfield Town.

The 29 year old is no stranger to manager Mark Duell, having worked with the boss for two seasons when Duell was in charge at Edinburgh City and won two domestic titles. He admits that the manager is the reason behind coming south of the border.

"I'm very pleased to put pen to paper today for Tranmere.

It's a deal to the end of the season which suits me and the Club down to the ground. I certainly wouldn't have moved here if it wasn't for Mark (Duell) as he is one of the best manager's I have ever worked under. Mark knows what I am capable of and I intend to repay his trust in me when given the chance.

I'm not expecting to be straight into the team immediately but the strikers ahead now know they have some serious competition. Blair's raring to go!"

The new signing has been handed squad number 20 for the season ahead.
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Squad announcement

Last Updated: 31/08/2023 12:00pm

Wales Under-21 manager Mark Duell today released his 23 man squad for their latest European Under-21 Championship campaign which begins next Wednesday. There are no changes from the squad that competed in Italy so it as follows:.

Goalkeepers:
Scott Williams (Scunthorpe United)
Jack Jackson (Cardiff City)
David Robson (Hull City)

Defenders:
Jamie Evans (Lincoln City)
Jonathan Letheren (Swansea City)
Sam Edwards (Swansea City)
Tom McCarthy (Cardiff City)
George Armstrong (Eastleigh, on loan from Portsmouth)
Stuart Wright (Swansea City)
Josh Hill (Colchester United, on loan from Cardiff City)

Midfielders:
Lloyd Holden (Aston Villa)
Dewi Coates (Connah's Quay Nomads)
Owen Beck (TNS)
Dion Tipton (unattached)
Darren Hewitt (Sheffield Wednesday)
Craig Sampson (Notts County)
Sion Pulis (unattached)
John Eaton (Colchester United)
Cory Bond (Swansea City)

Strikers:
Ian Branch (Cardiff City)
Sam Hall (Stoke City)
Andrew Berry (Swansea City)
Russell Burton (Cardiff City)

The first qualifier begins on 6 September 2023 with a trip to Greece before the young Dragons return home five days later to take on Israel. Duell will be hoping the side bounce back from their Italian disappointment and start the new campaign with a couple of wins on the board.
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August 2023 Summary

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The first month's action for Tranmere Rovers as they look to make an immediate return to the Football League after suffering relegation.

The opening game couldn't have been more tastier as Rovers took on my hometown club at the Vic. Playing an adapted 4-2-3-1 formation for the first time ever, we took the lead after just three minutes! A superb piece of vision by winger Cedwyn Scott, yes he's English despite a Welsh sounding forename, picked out an unmarked Paul Mullin who took a touch before angling a low finish into the far corner. We doubled the advantage two minutes later, Carlo Banks diverting a shot from skipper Jon Murray into the goal. Things got better for us when Pools skipper Jack Wakely saw a straight red for a late challenge four minutes before half time. Yet we didn't take advantage of the numerical advantage and midway through the second half, Tyler Smith pulled one back for the hosts. I hoped we could see it out but we didn't as four minutes from the end, Ben El-Yhanni's cross from the right was diverted into his own net by Kamal Sowah, just eight minutes after I had introduced him to the fray. A share of the spoils but two points thrown away.

Our opening game of the campaign was against another team that have played in the Football League, Macclesfield Town. A more creditable crowd of 4726 came to Prenton Park hoping for a home win and make a good start: after all if you make your home a fortress then that's like a win anyway. He hadn't scored for 14 league games before this game but he did in the 11th minute of this game to break his duck. Goerge Alfieri lofted a ball forward which Mullin headed down into the path of Jake Collier and he smashed the ball home. The boy was delighted, and we were too. We scored a second in the 22nd minute, Scott with a low cross that eluded the Macc defence and Mullin had the simple task of putting it away. Aaron Davies was sent off three minutes later but this time we didn't let the opponents back into it. A third came just after the hour when Banks was baulked in the area, referee Amy Fearn pointing straight to the spot. Up stepped Collier and he made no mistake. Three home points and three goals, job's a good one as they say.

The next game could have been a banana skin as we travelled south to be entertained by league newcomers Chesham United. We needed a solid performance and the boys delivered it despite being under pressure from the home side constantly. The lead arrived after 21 minutes, left-back Caleb Richards swung in a cross that Scott headed down to Collier who poached in from six yards out. The decisive second came after 68 minutes when loanee Einar Iversen picked out the run of Collier whose shot was blocked but straight to the young Norwegian who finished well. A tough encounter but a second successive win.

Grimsby arrived top of the table when they came in the final game of the month but they wouldn't leave it top as we recorded another 2-0 win. Just over five and half thousand were in Prenton Park for this big game already, and the majority were jumping up and down after just nine minutes. Another cross from the left by Richards and who else but was the hotshot known as Collier to volley home. The second came just before the half hour, Mullin provided the corner which went deep to the far post for Banks to nod down for Murray to execute a superb finish through a crowd. We resisted the Mariners pressure after that and a third successive clean sheet on the schedule.

So the table is as follows:

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If it wasn't for that late equaliser at Hartlepool then we would have started off with a 100 per cent record but I'll take this at the moment. Considering we are now playing a system that we didn't in pre-season then it's even more remarkable. Jake Collier has continued in his pre-season scoring form with four in four and the goals are coming from both sides of the pitch. More tests will come and we will slip up that I'm sure of but a great beginning anyway.
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Monthly Awards: August 2023


They didn't have the monthly awards in France but here are August's awards in the National League.

Manager of the Month:
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What's that all about, eh? Shades of my career back in Edinburgh City, this time second placed to an injury prone ex-England footballer! Identical records we have and we have a better goal difference though. Smacks of old boy politics I think, but I'll get my award soon. Watch your back Dyer!

Young Player of the Month:
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A second place for our Jake but really how can you overlook a kid who had scored more and has a better player average rating? Taylor plays for the league favourites that's why. I know my kid is just as good, potentially he could go a long way.

No candidates in the Player of the Month and Goal of the Month awards though.
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Penalty shootout heartache for Rovers

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9 September 2023

It proved to be penalty shootout heartache for Rovers as they crashed out of this season's Irn-Bru Cup at the second round stage to Hamilton Academical.

Backed by over 1000 noisy away supporters, Rovers made the perfect start when they went into an eighth minute lead when recent signing Sam Durrant found the net with a precise volley from a Cedwyn Scott cross. The London-born midfielder, who had been released by Championship side Blackburn Rovers in the summer, was clearly delighted to have marked his debut with a goal.

The hosts equalised eight minutes later when a free-kick from left was headed in at the far post by Anthony Muir, and had the best of the chances afterwards. Luckily for us, none of them really troubled Bayleigh Passant in the Rovers goal. Passant had been given the start between the sticks because first choice Thomas Hanlon was away on international duty with the Republic of Ireland Under 21 side.

After 90 minutes with the scores still level, we headed to the dreaded penalty shootout with Rovers going first. Unfortunately top scorer Jake Collier saw his effort from twelve yards saved by Hamilton keeper Gary Woods. Academical would prove to be deadly accurate as they scored each of their four efforts with Paul Mullin, Alex Denny and Durrant netting our second, third and fourth kicks. So with pressure mounting, could Ryan Reynolds score our fifth? Alas Woods proved to be a barrier he could not get by as the custodian pushed the defender's effort away.

Manager Mark Duell had this to say after the game:

"I'm bitterly disappointed to go out this way.

We played reasonably well but the dreaded penalty shootout just didn't go our way. We go again another day."

Chairman Mark Palios was also sympathetic:
"It's always hard to lose any game of football.

But the team had a difficult draw, probably the hardest there is. I'm sure they'll bounce back again in domestic action."

The team was follows:
Passant; Alfieri (Reynolds 70), Howard (Bradley 85), Anderson, Eze; Sowah; Durrant, Iversen (Denny 62); Scott ©, Mullin; Collier. Unused substitutes: Henderson, Fernandes, Sammons, Polat.

Attendance: 4360 (1088 Rovers)
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So a new campaign starts, will this be my last one for Wales?

Wednesday 6 September 2023
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We began the campaign in the heat of Greece, but would it be too hot for us to deal with? We took the lead in the eighth when Cory Bond found Owen Beck in space about twelve yards and he swivelled on a sixpence as they say to fire a shot into the roof of the net. They equalised just five minutes later when Christos Dardas of Mainz was allowed to run unchallenged and then unleash a howitzer that just flew in. The Greeks were reduced to ten men with 16 minutes to go when German born central defender Lucas Buchholzer was dismissed for two yellow cards. But there was still more drama to come. In the final minute, we were awarded a penalty when skipper Lloyd Holden was upended in the area but Sion Pulis saw his effort saved by Vyntra. Then even more drama...

We got awarded a second penalty in time added on, this time for a foul on Sam Hall. Bond stepped up this time and made no mistake! 2-1 and what a dramatic finish, the Greeks were raging. But we didn't care a jot.

Monday 11 September 2023
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The second game came in Cardiff City Stadium when we hosted the young Israel side. They stunned us in the 10th minute when Farber was given space to beat Scott Williams with a fine effort indeed. But we rallied and equalised within three minutes, Beck finding wing partner John Eaton who turned to fire a low shot into the far corner of the net with the keeper rooted to the spot. We went ahead in the 28th minute, Sam Edwards with the cross and Beck planted a header into the corner. Five minutes after the restart, we got awarded our third penalty in two games when Glam tripped Holden in the box. Striker Russell Burton took responsibilities this time and made no mistake whatsoever with a perfect spot kick. Skipper and man of the match Holden deserved something from the game on a personal perspective, and he got his goal with twenty minutes to go through a far post finish into the top corner after another Edwards cross.

So after two games, this is how we stand:


https://i.postimg.cc/hP3gf95q/Wales-U21-Table0923.png
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