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

Discussion
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https://i.postimg.cc/fL9rpX5T/TRFC-FACR3202425.png
4 January 2025

Premiership strugglers Preston North End survived a massive fright to see off League Two Tranmere Rovers in a seven goal thriller of a Emirates FA Cup Third Round tie. The visitors were just nineteen minutes away from causing a massive upset until the Lilywhites woke up and scored their winner with just seconds left to play.

Backed by a noisy contingent of over 5000 fans, Tranmere took the lead after 19 minutes. Conor Tee was the architect with a superbly weighted pass into winger Neco Williams and the former Liverpool trainee showed incredible composure to lift the ball over the advancing Emiliano Martinez and send those fans behind that goal into sheer delight. It was his eighth goal of the season and he's proving to be an impressive free transfer capture for the Rovers since signing in the summer.

Preston would equalise just after the half hour, former Chelsea winger Charly Musonda with a superbly curled free kick from distance which Marcus Dewhurst in the Tranmere goal could not keep out. It was only the second goal that the Belgian had scored for the home side since signing for an initial £10.75 million in the summer of 2021. Yet Tranmere refused to be overawed by this and recaptured the lead just five minutes after that wondrous strike, top scorer Paul Mullin whipped in a corner and experienced midfielder Yann Songo'o powered in a close range header for his sixth of the season and again send those away fans into delirium.

Eight minutes after the restart, the home side were back on parity when Jack Harrison burst from inside his own half to the byline, leaving Tranmere defenders in his wake, and then pulling the ball back for Italian internationalist Moise Kean to tap home from six yards out. Tranmere still wouldn't go away and regained the lead for the third time in the 71st minute when Mullin showed more great vision to find substitute Jake Collier, on for the ineffective Aaron Pressley, and the highly rated 19 year old pulled away from his marker to drive in a shot that beat Martinez at his near post for his sixth of a very stop-start season. It will have certainly added to his reputation with Rovers reputedly set to cash in on this window. Almost straight away, Preston were level thanks to a low drive from Kean: his second of the game.

The teams looked certain to go back to the Wirral for a replay, but that was until Preston conjured up a late winner with the final chance of the game. Harrison provided the corner and Jules Koundé, who was at fault for the opening goal, headed in and deny Rovers what would have been a well deserved replay. It will give Preston new heart under new manager Philip Cocu and maybe this might be the springboard they need to try and avoid the drop.

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Graham, Mbulu, Richards; Songo'o, Murray ©; Williams, Tee, Mullin; Pressley. Substitutes: Collier (for Pressley 59), De Boer (for Murray 68), Reynolds (for Richards 76), Ward, Scott, Ofoborh, Carlo Banks.
Goalscorers: Williams (19), Songo'o (36), Collier (71)
Booked: Songo'o (11), Williams (45+1), Mbulu (48)
Man of the Match: Moise Kean (Preston North End)
Attendance: 14,373 (5208 Rovers)
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Monthly Awards: December 2024


Better late than never, here are the winners of December's monthly awards:

Manager of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/DyGpLgkw/L2-MOTM-Dec2024.png
A first manager of the month award for the former Burnley goalkeeper. I can only think back to that home reverse against Stockport County which probably cost me a place in the top three at least.

Player of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/W1PWnkT6/L2-POTM-Dec2024.png
Another former Burnley player takes this award. He looks too good for this level, and at 25 is in his prime. Could be one to look at if we get promotion this season.

Young Player of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/W4N9RcDd/L2-YPOTM-Dec2024.png
On loan from our affiliate club, the Villa, he could be one to keep an eye on and see how he develops.

Goal of the Month: Tommy McIntosh (Chester)
https://i.postimg.cc/9X7YnQxx/L2-GOTM-Dec2024.png
Did nothing when we played them earlier in the season. I'm hoping he has another stinker when we play them again in January.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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January 2025 Review (Part One)


Splitting up the month of January into two blocks of three rather than doing one massive long and, maybe boring, post:

https://i.postimg.cc/T1zq2jFp/TRFC-202425-Game25.png
1 January 2025

This was the first home of the New Year and a perfect bounce back after the Boxing Day disappointment. It's not that Scunthorpe were really bad, we were just really clinical especially in the first half where we put the game beyond the Iron. We opened the scoring after just four minutes when Neco Williams pouched his sixth of the season at the second attempt after Sharp parried his initial effort. Ten minutes later, we had a second and so did Williams for his seventh of the campaign. This time it was a far post header from a Jon Murray free-kick. Murray created the third in the 29th minute, another free kick and with Scunthorpe looking at each other: Nnamdi Ofoborh had all the time in the world to pick his spot for his first of the season.

A fourth arrived on the hour. Conor Tee weighting a pass into top scorer Paul Mullin like a knife through hot butter, and he was also given room by the generous Scunthorpe defence to score his tenth of the season. There was to be no clean sheet though as central defender Jarvis Edobor headed in a corner with seven minutes to go but it was just consolation. Nice to get back to winning ways at home!

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Graham, Mbulu, Richards; Ofoborh; Tee, Murray ©; Williams, Mullin, Pressley. Substitutes: Reynolds (for Graham 39), De Boer (for Murray 54), Songo'o (for Tee 63), Ward, Collier, Scott, Carlo Banks.
Goalscorers: Williams (4, 14), Ofoborh (29), Mullin (60)
Man of the Match: Neco Williams (Tranmere)
Attendance: 6941 (128 away)

https://i.postimg.cc/44mDdJjg/TRFC-202425-Game26.png
8 January 2025

After losing so narrowly and painfully in the FA Cup at Preston, it was back to league action four days later to face a fellow promotion challenger in Forest Green Rovers at The New Lawn. They had the division's top scorer in Mason Bloomfield but once again he drew a blank as our defence shut him out. We lost Williams before half time with a bad injury, more details in my summary at the end, but his replacement proved to be the match winner. That man was Cedwyn Scott who has endured spells in and out of the team this season. The winger put us ahead with a rocket into the top corner in first half injury time with his fourth of the season after an Aaron Pressley pull back had landed into his path. The same player secured the points midway through the second half as the rain continued to fall, a confident finish after the home side failed to clear their lines following a yet another Murray free kick.

One away game out of three in a row completed with a win, can we build on it?

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Reynolds, Graham, Richards; Songo'o; Tee, Murray ©; Williams, Mullin, Pressley. Substitutes: Scott (for Williams 31), De Boer (for Tee 70), Joseph (for Songo'o 87), Ward, Collier, Denny, Carlo Banks.
Goalscorer: Scott (45+1, 65)
Booked: Songo'o (36)
Man of the Match: Cedwyn Scott (Tranmere)
Attendance: 2948 (429 Rovers)

https://i.postimg.cc/xTmBv60p/TRFC-202425-Game27.png
11 January 2025

Derby days are always special regardless what division your playing in. Well our next game was a derby against Chester with us holding the bragging rights after a 1-0 win at our place earlier in the campaign. By the end, those bragging rights remained on the Wirral as we recorded another 1-0 win over the Blues. The only goal would come in the 66th minute when Mullin put the ball into the danger area and arriving on it was Scott to poke home his sixth of the season in front of an ecstatic away support.

That's two wins on the road in successive matches, can we make it three with a win at Oldham?

Team: Dewhurst; Williams, Graham, Reynolds, Richards; Songo'o, Murray ©; Scott, Tee, Mullin, Pressley. Substitutes: Davies (for Pressley 59), Collier (for Tee 76), Denny (for Murray 82), Ward, De Boer, Joseph, Carlo Banks.
Goalscorer: Scott (66)
Booked: Pressley (28), Reynolds (62), Scott (90+2)
Man of the Match: Ryan Reynolds (Tranmere)
Attendance: 4583 (400 Rovers)

Analysis: An excellent start to the New Year with three wins from three. Winning at Forest Green was particularly satisfying as it put us back on top of the table. That came about because Colchester suffered a 1-0 loss at Plymouth the night before. The Pilgrims are slowly moving into promotion contention and could be the team that could challenge as dark horses. However, we've got that game in hand against Oldham so if we win that then we go four points clear which is a massive step in the right direction. All this now without Neco Williams who suffered sprained ankle ligament damage In Nailsworth. A massive blow particularly when the kid was excelling so well in the right wing role.

Oh and we're somehow keeping hold of Jake Collier for now. He wants away but nobody wants to pay the going rate, had some derisory offers from Norwich and Reading wanting him on the cheap.
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/L6SZ4gFt/league2logo.jpg


January 2025 Review (Part Two)


The second instalment in January's result analysis:

https://i.postimg.cc/RVMrM812/TRFC-202425-Game28.png
14 January 2025

So after defeating Chester in the local derby; we played our game in hand against Oldham at Boundary Park and boy did we make it count! It didn't start too well though as the Latics took a fifth minute lead through Craig Flitcroft-Draycott's second goal of the season. It was just the kick up the backside we needed, and two goals in as many minutes before half time turned the game in our favour. The equaliser came in the 38th minute when the recalled Jake Collier beat the keeper at his near post from a Carlo Banks cross. We went ahead two minutes later when Yann Songo'o headed in his seventh of the season from an Alex Denny free kick.

We secured the points, and our fifth win on the spin, with twenty minutes to go when central defender Sam Graham powered in his first of the season from a Banks corner kick.

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Reynolds, Joseph, Richards; Songo'o; Denny; Carlo Banks, Tee, Scott ©, Collier. Substitutes: Graham (for Reynolds 57), Pressley (for Scott 66), De Boer (for Richards 78), Ward, Davies, Murray, Mullin.
Goalscorers: Collier (38), Songo'o (40), Graham (70)
Man of the Match: Carlo Banks (Tranmere)
Attendance: 3649 (678 Rovers)

https://i.postimg.cc/kXw0DcfG/TRFC-202425-Game29.png
18 January 2025

Despite a late flourish from the visitors, Rovers held on for a sixth successive win and a further step towards their promotion aspirations. The opening goal came in the 10th minute when Banks clipped in a free kick and Joseph Joseph, remember he's that good his parents named twice, got above all and sundry to direct a header into the net for his second of the season. We doubled our lead in the 63rd minute when a Banks cross was headed into the six yard box by substitute Harvey Davies for the predatory Collier to slide in and score his eighth of the season. The game looked over when we added a third with just eleven minutes to go, Walsall's defence dozing at a free-kick and Dutchman Kees De Boer scored his third and probably easiest goal of the season.

Walsall gave us a bit of a fright with two goals in the closing stages, Oliver Kensdale scoring his first for the Saddlers with two minutes left and then former Palace trainee Rob Street scored their second in time added on. But we held on, phew!

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Reynolds, Joseph, Richards; Songo'o; Denny; Carlo Banks, Tee, Scott ©, Collier. Substitutes: Davies (for Tee 37), Murray (for Songo'o 57), De Boer (for Richards 70), Ward, Pressley, Graham, Mullin.
Goalscorers: Joseph (10), Collier (63), De Boer (79)
Man of the Match: Harry Chapman (Walsall)
Attendance: 7879 (226 away)

https://i.postimg.cc/HL8RZCH8/TRFC-202425-Game30.png
25 January 2025

Could we complete the month of January with yet another win, or at least remain unbeaten? It wasn't going to be an easy game, considering they had the division's second top scorer in their ranks and it was he who opened the scoring. However, the Bromley fans weren't happy over it as he fired the ball into his own net two minutes after the restart when trying to clear a Banks corner kick. Two minutes after taking the lead, we faced a battle as Nnamdi Ofoborh picked up our first red card of the season for two yellows. To be honest, the referee had no option whatsoever. Bromley would equalise in the 66th minute through Ryan Murray but we wouldn't concede again and held on for what could prove to be a very important point in the grand scheme of things as the promotion race begins to hot up indeed.

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Joseph, Mbulu, Kenlock; Ofoborh, Murray ©; Carlo Banks, Mullin, Scott; Collier. Substitutes: Songo'o (for Scott 49), Davies (for Collier 73), Pressley (for Carlo Banks 81), Ward, De Boer, Graham, Richards.
Goalscorer: Sims (own goal 47)
Booked: Scott (16), Ofoborh (44), Songo'o (88)
Sent Off: Ofoborh (49)
Man of the Match: Jonas Kalonda (Bromley)
Attendance: 2901 (472 Rovers)

This is how the division stands with January now complete:

https://i.postimg.cc/yxywmXKf/TRFC-Table-End-Jan2025.png

Analysis: So all in all, January was indeed a very good month for us. Colchester have a had a bit of a wobble, just as we hoped for, and we have taken full advantage of it. Five points ahead of them is a nice buffer to have but it will be even better to extend it. The fact that we're almost 20 points clear of third placed Plymouth means that we're heading in the right direction for a second successive promotion and meaning that the decision to sign a new deal is proving to be inspired. I seem to be a club that wants to be ambitious, but then again so am I.

I can see my stock rising further if I get Tranmere promoted again, and with the imminent completion of my Continental Pro coaching licence then I might soon become a man in demand. The Premiership dream is still a way off, but I could easily do a job at Championship level but it will have to be a decent team at that standard to entice me away. Keep churning out the points and we will be celebrating on the Wirral once more. 16 games to go...
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/L6SZ4gFt/league2logo.jpg

Monthly Awards: January 2025


Here are the winners of the awards for the first month of the New Year:

Manager of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/1zX7fzZb/L2-MOTM-Jan2025.png
Never in doubt I tell you! I'm the only manager to have won this TWICE this season and I want more!

Player of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/YqxdRFrJ/L2-POTM-Jan2025.png
Spirerites defensive midfielder takes this gong, looks a bit decent too. Might have to buy a defensive midfielder in the summer so he could be worth having a look at.

Young Player of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/bJbTtDVV/L2-YPOTM-Jan2025.png
On loan from the Blades, can't say I actually was wowed by him when we played Chester at the Deva...oh yeah he was an unused substitute! Scored a hat-trick in one game and that's why he won it, OK then...

Goal of the Month: Connor Johnson (Bromley)
https://i.postimg.cc/JnbNnwt9/L2-GOTM-Jan2025.png
Came through the ranks at Wolves but didn't make a single appearance for them. Now in his sixth season at Bromley, nothing special.
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/bYxN6HZY/tranmererovers-logo.png

Preview: February 2025 Fixtures


https://i.postimg.cc/3JwGM0CM/TRFC-Feb2025-Fixtures.png

Four more games this season as we find ourselves in a bid to win a second successive promotion.

The month begins with probably the biggest league game of the season. Forget the local derbies with Chester, this is the huge one and a lot could really depend on it. We host Colchester United who are probably the team that could deny us yet more silverware. The game will kick off with us five points ahead of them in the standings and we take maximum points then that will be a massive step to adding the League Two title to the National League one. Even a point wouldn't be too bad, just need to avoid defeat. Lose and the gap comes down to two points, we don't want that do we?

After facing Colchester we head off to Shropshire to face Shrewsbury Town. The Shrews start February just outside the play off positions and will be hoping to sneak in. They have a surefire match winner in former Burnley winger Dwight McNeil so we will have to keep him quiet for sure. Picking up at least a point from this awkward away game will be just as good as winning. Our last trip there was a 1-1 draw so that shows you how hard of a game it is going to be.

The penultimate game of February sees us host Cas'newydd (Newport) and it's safe to say that we got away with absolute murder when we were at Rodney Parade earlier this season. If it wasn't for Jake Collier's injury time equaliser then Newport would have walked off deserved winners on the day. Once more, this goes and proves there is no such thing as an easy game this season. They're up there this season and could easily be promoted this season if everything goes their way. We have to stop them!

We finish the month with a trip to mid-table Sutton United at Gander Green Lane. It's another potential banana skin for us as they have one of the league's hotshots in Nigerian striker Fejiri Okenabirhie but we kept the league top scorer Mason Bloomfield quiet in January. A repeat of our last visit there, where we won 2-1, would be nice indeed.

It's starting to heat up!
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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February 2025 Review


The month of February is in the book, here's how we fared:

https://i.postimg.cc/kgqVh8hd/TRFC-202425-Game31.png
1 February 2025

The biggest game of the season so far, a real proverbial six pointer. Win and we would go even more clear at the top but lose and the deficit gets reduced, as simple as that. Surprisingly, the game didn't bring the biggest crowd of the season to Prenton Park which I thought it would do. Anyway it was a classic top of the table clash with neither side wanting lose the game, guess my Colchester counterpart had the same thoughts on how he was going to approach the match. Anyway, with 15 minutes to go the deadlock was broken when U's striker Theo Waites lashed in an unstoppable volley from a corner kick routine.

Time to dig in deep then to rescue a point, and it looked like we would run out of time as the clock ticked on. But teams that win championships always find a way to rescue something, and that's what happened in the final minute of five minutes added on. With the tension so palatable you could taste it, there was a coming together as Cracknell and Kees De Boer challenged for a late Paul Mullin corner kick. Referee Matt Donohue said penalty. Up stepped Mullin with nerves of steel and the cold precision of a killer to send the keeper the wrong way and score such a dramatic equaliser. It was his 11th of the season, and probably his most crucial one this season.

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Mbulu, Joseph, Kenlock; De Boer; Murray ©; Scott, Davies, Mullin, Collier. Substitutes: Sea (for Davies 61), Pressley (for Collier 73), Reynolds (for Kenlock 89), Ward, Songo'o, Denny, Graham.
Goalscorer: Mullin (pen 90+5)
Booked: Mbulu (28)
Man of the Match: Theo Waites (Colchester United)
Attendance: 7811 (278 away)

https://i.postimg.cc/GmyMzWNf/TRFC-202425-Game32.png
8 February 2025

With our opponents on the fringes of the play off spots looking in, this had the making of a very difficult away game. However, one man took it upon himself to disprove that theory and keep the promotion bid bubbling quite nicely with a superb hat-trick. That player was wantaway striker Jake Collier whom we have turned down bids for but purely because nobody wants to meet the minimum release clause. Collier opened the scoring after 13 with a deft header from a Myles Kenlock cross following a patient team build up, then he doubled his and the team's tally eight minutes later. This time the delivery came from the other wing, Cedwyn Scott with the cross and Collier volleyed home. The Shrews pulled back within one with 14 minutes to go thanks to a Jack Diamond effort that hit the bar but spun into the net, nothing you can do about those. Yet Collier had the final say in the 89th minute, directing a header into the far corner from a De Boer flag kick to take him on 11 for the season and complete his first treble for the Club.

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Graham, Mbulu, Kenlock; Songo'o; Murray ©; Scott, Davies, Mullin, Collier. Substitutes: Sea (for Mullin 59), De Boer (for Murray 74), Tee (for Davies 83), Ward, Pressley, Reynolds, Booth.
Goalscorer: Collier (13, 21, 89)
Man of the Match: Jake Collier (Tranmere)
Attendance: 6047 (920 Rovers)

https://i.postimg.cc/KzpGQ33x/TRFC_202425Game33.png
15 February 2025

A potential hard home would follow that trip to Salop, as Newport County visited Prenton Park. The Exiles are looking to get automatic promotion alongside us and are locked into a real dogfight fro that third spot with Plymouth and Forest Green Rovers to name just two. It was a game that was frustrating to us as we dominated it but could we hit the target and put them away, could we heck. But we kept on plugging away, and just hoped that the resistance would be broken before the final whistle shrilled. Thankfully that moment came with just a minute left to play. better late than never for the second time this month eh? Skipper Jon Murray, who still won't sign a new deal despite the team's lofty league position, clipped in a free kick and Leeds loanee Harvey Davies looped a header over Lee Burge in the Newport goal and into the net. His first league, but second overall, goal of the season. It was a vital goal as the monthly summary will explain.

The game saw the welcome return of Neco Williams who had been out for four weeks with sprained ankle ligaments. Always good to have one of the team's inspirations back as the promotion charge continues.

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Graham, Mbulu, Kenlock; Songo'o; Murray ©; Williams, Davies, Mullin, Collier. Substitutes: Scott (for Williams 67), De Boer (for Songo'o 74), Sea (for Tee 77), Ward, Pressley, Reynolds, Tee.
Goalscorer: Davies (89)
Man of the Match: Harvey Davies (Tranmere)
Attendance: 9023 (238 away)

https://i.postimg.cc/L8r2qMK6/TRFC_202425Game34.png
22 February 2025

One goal would separate us and hosts Sutton United at Gander Green Lane to finish February. It came early on, in the 12th minute in fact, when the hugely impressive Kenlock crossed from the left and Williams stooped to head home. It was a ninth goal of the season for the former Anfield trainee, and quite remarkable considering I had signed him initially as a right back. He's certainly proven to be one of the best free transfers I have brought in anywhere in this career. As for the game, we weren't quite exactly at our best but three points are three points as we head into a very congested March period.

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Graham, Mbulu, Kenlock; Songo'o; Murray ©; Williams, Davies, Mullin, Collier. Substitutes: Sea (for Collier 57), Scott (for Mullin 78), De Boer (for Songo'o 81), Ward, Pressley, Reynolds, Tee.
Goalscorer: Williams (12)
Man of the Match: Myles Kenlock (Tranmere)
Attendance: 2929 (484 Rovers)

This is how the division stands:

https://i.postimg.cc/DwDL8mwJ/TRFC-Table-End-Feb2025.png

Analysis: Another very good month for us as we are now unbeaten in 11 league games since that Boxing Day loss at home to Stockport County.

What makes it more sweeter is that we have extended our lead at the top to an amazing eight points! This came about because whilst we were getting that late win against Newport County, Colchester were slipping to defeat against Chester at the Deva. Thanks Chester, you absolute beauties! This means we can afford to lose two games and draw one more yet still stay ahead of the U's. Not that we're actually planning to do just that, we want as many points as we can get and if that means running away with the title then so be it. It's now also an astonishing 22 point gap to third placed Newport so all is looking good. If we can put together some more good results in March then perhaps we can really dare to dream. However, we will have to be without Paul Mullin for 2-3 weeks due to him picking up an abdominal injury, time for someone to step up to the plate and keep it going eh?

12 games to go...
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/0jcCjfmt/Carabao-Cup-Logo.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/v8Jmg9rd/TRFC-CC2025-Review.png


The 2025 Carabao Cup has just been completed, with Liverpool winning it for the 10th time in their history thanks to a sole Virgil Van Dijk strike against rivals Manchester United at Wembley.

However, we were surprised to be mentioned as the competition's biggest overachievers. We knocked out both Blackpool and Premiership side Leeds before falling at the Third Round stage. Not bad for a team that has just been promoted from the National League.

Hopefully we can continue to build on this, and maybe cause a few more surprises as the seasons progress.
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/L6SZ4gFt/league2logo.jpg

Monthly Awards: February 2025


Here are the winners of the awards for February:

Manager of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/d3vSp5MY/L2-MOTM-Feb2025.png
A 100 per cent for the Bromley boss as they head towards mid-table safety. Oh and I finished second by the way!

Player of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/vTHt5kFc/L2-POTM-Feb2025.png
Scored against us in January, takes the Player of the Month gong the following month. Has six goals in six games since joining on a free transfer at the beginning of the latest transfer window.

Young Player of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/0NYYFP9z/L2-YPOTM-Feb2025.png
A 20 year old on loan from Ipswich Town, don't think he's as good as our midfielders. Even those who can't get into the first team picture here are better than him attribute wise.

Goal of the Month: Tim Tantram (Walsall)
https://i.postimg.cc/L8dZpwCL/L2-GOTM-Feb2025.png
One of the latest new talents I've blooded for the Welsh Under 21 side. Be interesting to see how he develops in years to come.
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Preview: March 2025 Fixtures


https://i.postimg.cc/FKrzF4jd/TRFC-Mar2025-Fixtures.png

A really packed month of six games in a spell of just four weeks.

We start March with another game against Blackpool. We have had the upper hand this season against the Seasiders, winning both the Carabao Cup and away league games against them. They'll be hoping that it is third time lucky whilst we will be wanting three points to keep this promotion juggernaut rolling. The strike partnership of Ben Beechey and Graham Woodward will be a major threat to us as will the wing play as Jorge Harrop. It's a potential banana skin at an important part of the season.

Normally when you mention the place Cheltenham to me, I'll reply with Prestbury Park as that is where the racecourse is. But the only racing we will be doing in March is hopefully the race to the title and being first past the winning post. They're not out of the relegation race so it could be a very interesting game indeed in Gloucestershire. Our only midweek game of the month follows next as Crewe come visiting, hopefully we can stay firmly on track after this one.

We go to town of the Crooked Spire in the penultimate away match of the month. We raced into a convincing 3-0 lead against them at home earlier in the season but had to hang on for the three points in the end as they staged a very spirited comeback. If that's not a warning sign then what is? Our month ends with a home game against Accrington Stanley, a team that scores goals from all areas rather than being reliant on one out and out scorer (a bit like ourselves in a sense), before finishing with a trip to West Yorkshire to face Bradford City who I'm surprised aren't challenging for promotion this season. They do average over 16000 a home game this season which is incredible, shame those faithful fans haven't seen a team capable of challenging for the big honours this season eh?

Who knows where we will be after this six game span? I'll be summarising it in two parts though.
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March 2025 Review (Part One)


The first part of two which will summarise March's action:

https://i.postimg.cc/VNqMCxm8/TRFC-202425-Game35.png
1 March 2025

Could we make it three wins out of three against the Seasiders who are at the wrong end of the table? We took the lead in a close encounter after 27 minutes when Yann Songo'o lofted a ball over the top of the visiting defence and Jake Collier showed great anticipation to loop a header over the exposed goalkeeper. What made it extra special was the header came from the outside of the penalty area. It must have impressed Derek McInnes, the Rangers manager, who was apparently in the stands watching on and was Jake's 12th goal of the season. However, the lead lasted only four minutes when Glen Rea drilled home a low effort from around twelve yards. Try as we both might, neither side could break the other's defensive resistance again and we had to share the spoils with a 1-1 draw in front of our largest league crowd of the season.

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Graham, Mbulu, Kenlock; Songo'o, Murray ©; Williams, Davies, Sea, Collier. Substitutes: Tee (for Davies 71), Scott (for Sea 75), Pressley, Ward, Reynolds, De Boer, Carlo Banks.
Goalscorer: Collier (27)
Man of the Match: Jake Collier (Tranmere)
Attendance: 12,475 (1538 away)

https://i.postimg.cc/NMGyrLd6/TRFC-202425-Game36.png
8 March 2025

After being frustrated by Blackpool, we were certainly at the races at Cheltenham a week later as a comprehensive away performance secured a minimum play-off position for us. The thing was, we took the chances whilst Cheltenham did: one shot on target from 15 for them tells its own story right? The deadlock was broken four minutes from half time, Neco Williams was sent tumbling in the area by Breslin, and whilst it looked harsh, referee Charles Breakspear had no qualms about awarding us a penalty. With regular penalty taker Paul Mullin out injured, Collier assumed responsibility and blasted in his 13th of the season from the spot.

We kicked on in the second half with three further strikes. In the 66th minute, Collier turned provider with nice pass into Aaron Pressley who nutmegged the defender before drilling in a low finish for his seventh of the season. Then seven minutes later, after striking the post with his initial shot: Williams tucked away the rebound for 3-0 and a tenth of the season. The rout was complete in the 89th minute when Yann Songo'o volleyed home well from close range. An amazing away following of almost 700 fans went home very happy indeed. It also secured a minimum play off spot.

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Mbulu, Graham, Kenlock; Songo'o; Murray ©; Williams, Collier, Scott, Pressley. Substitutes: Sea (for Scott 62), Reynolds (for Nicholls 71), Ofoborh (for Murray 77), Ward, Davies, Tee, Carlo Banks.
Goalscorers: Collier (pen 41), Pressley (66), Williams (73), Songo'o (89)
Booked: Murray (45+2)
Man of the Match: Neco Williams (Tranmere)
Attendance: 2841 (692 Rovers)

https://i.postimg.cc/mrCqFgPg/TRFC-202425-Game37.png
11 March 2025

We only had one midweek game in this span, and that was when we hosted Crewe Alexandra. It was far from a classic either, and the teams went in at half time goalless which must have disappointed another large crowd. Five minutes into the restart, there was a goal to cheer for and it came our way. Some superb play down the left wing by Pressley left the Alex defender on his arse before crossing beautifully for Williams to arrive on the scene and place a stooping header into the net. But we couldn't hold on as Alex equalised three minutes from time thanks to an effort from D'Margio Lyons which clipped the inside of the far post before nestling into the net.

Team: Dewhurst; Reynolds, Graham, Mbulu, Kenlock; Songo'o, Murray ©; Williams, Collier, Scott, Pressley. Substitutes: Sea (for Scott 66), Tee (for Collier 75), Carlo Banks (for Williams 75), Ward, Davies, Nicholls, Ofoborh.
Goalscorer: Williams (50)
Man of the Match: Neco Williams (Tranmere)
Attendance: 9691 (662 away)
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Pressley joins O's on loan

https://i.postimg.cc/76Wh3b5L/aaronpressley.png

14 March 2025

Tranmere Rovers striker Aaron Pressley today joined National League Leyton Orient for the remainder of the season.

The 23 year old Scot, who joined Rovers this summer on a free transfer from Aston Villa, requested to leave after asking for more first team chances at Prenton Park. Manager Mark Duell agreed to give out those chances but the striker felt he wanted to move to pastures new to obtain them. An optional fee of £55,000 has been agreed between the sides should the National League side wish to make the deal permanent.

Pressley has scored seven goals in 27 appearances this season for Rovers, and we wish him well.
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March 2025 Review (Part Two)


The second part of two which summarises March's action:

https://i.postimg.cc/DZFGPncg/TRFC-202425-Game38.png
15 March 2025

After a dour draw against Crewe, we looked to get back on the winning track with a trip to town with the Crooked Spire. It was also a reunion of sorts for some of the team as in the Spireites squad was former Rovers loanee Luca Connell. Connell would last just 29 minutes before limping off injured which caused the home side to reshuffle their pack, but they went ahead a minute before the break when Jake Nicholls shoved Kouhyar in the penalty area. Stonewall spot kick if there ever was one. Striker Liam Mandeville stepped up and produced the perfect penalty into the botttom corner with Marcus Dewhurst sent the wrong way.

We knew we had to produce a big response and with twenty minutes to go, equalised. Myles Kenlock with an inswinging corner and central defender Sam Graham with a bullet of a header for his second goal of the season. No keeper was going to stop that one going in! Then just as it looked like a second successive 1-1 draw, we conjured up yet another late winner. It had started with a clearance from a home corner and from the resultant counter; Neco Williams crossed and substitute Harvey Davies planted a header into the top corner. It was the loanee from Leeds' third of the season.

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Graham, Mbulu, Kenlock; Songo'o, Murray ©; Williams, Carlo Banks, Scott, Collier. Substitutes: Reynolds (for Nicholls HT), Sea (for Carlo Banks 51), Davies (for Collier 59), Ward, Ofoborh, Tee, Mullin.
Goalscorers: Graham (70), Davies (89)
Booked: Nicholls (23), Collier (63)
Man of the Match: Sam Graham (Tranmere)
Attendance: 4920 (515 Rovers)

https://i.postimg.cc/503CPT7M/TRFC-202425-Game39.png
22 March 2025

We had ridden our luck at Chesterfield but luck was not on our side for the penultimate game of March as we collapsed quicker than a deck of cards against Accrington at home. It started off well though as we took the lead in the 12th minute. It was also a 12th goal of an amazing season for Neco Williams, another perfect header from a perfect cross by Myles Kenlock. Surely Neco is a candidate for the League Two Player of the Year? Yet as soon as Philip Price drilled in their equaliser, second time he's done this against us, after 64 minutes then we fell apart so much so that home fans were heading for the exits before the final whistle. Further goals from Harvey Rodgers in the 79th minute and Alan Spencer four minutes later just rubbed it in. The team certainly knew about it in the dressing room post-game; the hairdryer came out!

On the flip side, promotion was secured!

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Mbulu, Graham, Kenlock; Songo'o; Murray ©; Williams, Carlo Banks, Mullin, Pressley. Substitutes: Sea (for Carlo Banks 51), Davies (for Mullin 67), Ofoborh (for Songo'o 73), Ward, Davies, Tee, Carlo Banks.
Goalscorer: Williams (12)
Booked: Mbulu (70), Songo'o (73), Ofoborh (78)
Man of the Match: Philip Price (Accrington Stanley)
Attendance: 9116 (328 away)

https://i.postimg.cc/zXMRPnj3/TRFC-202425-Game40.png
29 March 2025

The sign of a good team is if they can bounce back straight away after what was, an embarrassing, loss and that's not disrespecting Accrington. We took the lead in the 21st minute when Paul Mullin clipped the ball into the box and Dimitri Sea knocked the ball past the defender before finishing with aplomb. It was just his third of the season, and his first since September when he scored in the 2-1 Carabao Cup loss to Reading. I do wonder if this might be something that re-ignites his luck in front of goal but we will just have to see, eh? The second came on the stroke of half time, another Kenlock left wing cross and another header into the net from Williams:goal number 13 this season!

Whatever the Bantams threw at us, we repelled with confidence and the icing on this very cake came in the final seconds. A shot from Kenlock was diverted goalwards by a home defender and although the keeper prevented the own goal, he only pushed it out to Mullin who scored his 12th and probably easiest of the season.

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Graham, Mbulu, Kenlock; Songo'o, Murray ©; Williams, Carlo Banks, Mullin, Sea. Substitutes: Ofoborh (for Murray 61), Davies (for Carlo Banks 71), Scott (for Williams 82), Ward, Reynolds, Tee, Collier.
Goalscorers: Sea (21), Williams (45+1), Mullin (90+5)
Booked: Songo'o (30)
Man of the Match: Paul Mullin (Tranmere)
Attendance: 15,858 (874 Rovers)

So this is how we stand going into the final six games of the season:

https://i.postimg.cc/KcC0tgMr/TRFC-Table-End-Mar2025.png

Analysis: Barring the collapse against Accrington Stanley which ended another unbeaten run, we had another very good month. We've clinched promotion for the second successive season which is absolutely brilliant but want to go on and take the title and add more silverware to the Prenton Park trophy cabinet. We reluctantly let Aaron Pressley go on loan for the remainder of the season, despite offering him a regular run out in the first team. Unless Orient decide to not pay the purchase fee, he's on his way out of here. We need players who are committed to the club, not prima donnas. I might have to have a word with his old man to try and get some sense knocked into the youngster's head.

Dimitri Sea finally scored again which was a surprise to all and sundry, I mean it only took him six months between goals! I still think he's been a major disappointment, maybe the hype about his signing got to him. If he can go on a good run of form as the season heads to its conclusion then he might give me food for thought in League One next season. That said, League One is going to be an even bigger mountain to climb. But I'm ready for it, but there might be a bit of a player cull coming in the summer as the squad is too big and some of the players aren't exactly going to fit in at the next level up. Be interesting to see what the board wants to do too.
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Monthly Awards: March 2025


Here are the winners of the awards for March:

Manager of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/XqgXN5SS/L2-MOTM-Mar2025.png
So Shaun Barker has copied me with a second Manager of the Month award, guess that loss at home to Accrington really did suck and hurt! Dodgy hairstyle though Shaun...

Player of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/ryGDNBdn/L2-POTM-Mar2025.png
Well done our Neco! He's been probably my signing of the season, I hope he goes and wins the League Two Player of the Year now.

Young Player of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/J41G6pZ1/L2-YPOTM-Mar2025.png
Never heard of him, and probably won't do so again.

Goal of the Month: Jamie Walker (Stockport County)
https://i.postimg.cc/2823Pn7n/L2-GOTM-Mar2025.png
Getting on a bit now at 31, used to play the SPL for the Jambos (Heart of Midlothian) and was once linked with a move to Rangers. Never happened and after a spell at Wigan, he's at Edgeley Park and in League Two.
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Preview: April and May 2025 Fixtures


https://i.postimg.cc/HnLjxxpr/TRFC-Apr-May2025-Fixtures.png

So we head into the final six games of another remarkable season.

With a second successive promotion bagged, our sights are now focused on a twin target. Target number one is to add the League Two title to the National League one. Winning this would certainly increase my reputation and attract a number of Championship sides should they have a vacancy on their hands, that and the completion of Continental Pro Coaching Licence. Safe to say, a decent Championship side or low ranked Premier League side coming calling in England then I'm going to give it some serious thought. I won't be dropping any lower than League One now these days or second tier overseas at a decent nation. The second target which is equally obtainable is to reach 100 points for the season, and we start that final push 7 points from it. We had 103 points last season in the National League, a club record, but there's no reason why we can't break it.

The final push starts with a home game against Exeter City. The Grecians are in the play-off spots as we speak. and a good result for them can only but help their cause immensely but we have been in good form with only one loss since the turn of the year. It'll be very nice to continue that winning feeling and make Exeter's long journey north a pointless one! Our next opponents Maidstone United are in a dogfight at the bottom of the table, they're fighting for their League Two status. It's a potential banana skin on the final run and we need to be ruthless but professional to ensure we remain on the right course.

A real tough home game comes after Maidstone in the shape of Plymouth Argyle. Plymouth, like their West Country neighbours, are still harbouring play-off success as they've kinda slipped out of the top three. They beat us deservedly, but only by a single goal, at Home Park so maybe this time it's our turn to turn the table. They're a very good side who could hand us a defeat if we are not on our A game. Then our next game is like the previous away game, playing a team that is battling for survival. Our opponents are Oxford United, and they've a far away from the U's side of the late 80s when they were in the top division and winning the Milk Cup as it was known as in 1986. How things change so much in football eh?

Our final home game of the season comes in the final Saturday of April when we host Oldham Athletic. Oldham might have nothing to play for really bar a final finishing position unless they've gone on a late play-off charge, so it could be a real dead rubber of a game. Of course, we never view any game as a dead rubber one as we want to win every game we can. The season then finishes with a trip to Mansfield who are in the promotion shake up but might have to settle for a play off berth. Like Plymouth, they have the ability to surprise us. We cannot afford to go there and think the game is already won.

Oh and did I say that the title is only a small matter of one win away providing Colchester slip up further?
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Rovers bag more silverware!

https://i.postimg.cc/NFwjQvmD/TRFC-Champions2024.png

5 April 2025

"We are the Champions!" seems to be a regular song at Prenton Park these days as Rovers celebrated their second title win in as many seasons.

Going into today's home game against Exeter City, Rovers knew that if they won and Colchester suffered a defeat at home loss to struggling Cheltenham Town then the champagne corks would be once more popping on the Wirral.

However it didn't initially start to go to plan when Exeter's Sol Pryce drilled in his 24th goal of the season after just seven minutes and cause a few nervous thoughts in the large crowd. Those thoughts got a bit more concerning when news trickled through that Theo Waites had put Colchester ahead in the 27th minute of their game and when the respective half time whistles sounded the gap between the sides was down to ten points.

Yet those worried frowns became more like smiles when not once, not twice but three times in the second half news broke of Cheltenham goals and scuppering Colchester's title ambitions in the process. But Rovers still had to win themselves to clinch the title with five games to spare. And they did it the hard way of course. With six minutes left to play, wantaway striker Jake Collier impressed the watching scouts with a superb volley for his 14th of the season to equalise. Then the man that some Rovers fans have called the "Mr Late Winner" scored yet another late, late goal to clinch the points and the title. It came with just two minutes to go, Collier turning provider this time for Leeds loanee Harvey Davies to sidefoot home from twelve yards out past the exposed Grecians keeper.

Then the party could really start.

Our team was:

Dewhurst; Nicholls, Graham, Mbulu, Kenlock (Reynolds 82); Murray ©; Songo'o (Ofoborh 71); Williams, Collier, Mullin; Sea (Davies 58). Unused Substitutes: Carlo Banks, Ward, Tee, Scott.

Goalscorers: Collier (84), Davies (88)
Booked: Mbulu (5), Songo'o (26)
Man of the Match: Josh Laurent (Exeter City)
Attendance: 8891 (306 away)
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Welcome Gary Aspin!

https://i.postimg.cc/m2TjZgG1/PrentonPk.jpg

28 April 2025

Tranmere Rovers can confirm the consortium led by Gary Aspin has taken control of the newly crowned League Two champions.

Hayes based Aspin, who headed the consortium, succeeds Jack McCadden who purchased the Club from Mark Palios last March and has promised a brand new dawn, As part of the takeover, finance director Nigel Tinnion has been replaced in his role by Harrison Smith.

The Club can also confirm the link with Aston Villa remains in place but they have decided not to continue with the one with non-league Vauxhall Motors as part of a restructuring plan.

No news on the new stadium, outlined by McCadden, has been provided by the new board so it remains to see if these are still are to go ahead.
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April and May 2025 Review


The summary of the final six games of the season:

https://i.postimg.cc/QMDB44YY/TRFC-202425-Game41.png
5 April 2025

The game that clinched the title, as detailed in a previous post above....

https://i.postimg.cc/L6C5B4jX/TRFC-202425-Game42.png
12 April 2025

Relegation threatened Maidstone were next and in a tight match, it was two clinical finishes in the first half which ensured the points would go our way and deepen the Stones drop fears. The opener came after 14 minutes play after a patient passage of play that ended with Paul Mullin crossing from the left and the rejuvenated Dimitri Sea.for the French striker's second in three games and fourth of the season. Two minutes from half time, he had a second and fifth of the season when he slid in from close range to convert from a Neco Williams pull back. Alas he couldn't complete what would have been a well deserved hat-trick as a thigh injury caught his game short when he was in full flight. His replacement on field would secure the win with nine minutes; that being Harvey Davies who planted home a far post header for his fifth of the season: Williams with the cross.

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Graham, Mbulu, Kenlock; Ofoborh, Murray ©; Williams, Collier, Scott, Sea. Substitutes: De Boer (for Ofoborh 58), Davies (for Sea 72), Durrant (for Murray 83), Ward, Reynolds, Carlo Banks, Scott.
Goalscorers: Sea (14, 43), Davies (81)
Man of the Match: Neco Williams (Tranmere)
Attendance: 3340 (355 Rovers)

https://i.postimg.cc/yNMx2fNS/TRFC-202425-Game43.png
18 April 2025

Good Friday game against Plymouth Argyle, one of the few sides that have beaten us this season. It also produced the lowest home league crowd of the campaign, beating the 6431 which were present when we hosted Forest Green Rovers way back in August. Those who stayed away missed yet another home victory as goals midway through each half secured another maximum point haul and us crashing through the 100 point barrier with three games left to play. The opener came when a sweet cross from Myles Kenlock was headed into the net from a crowded penalty area by Jake Collier for the striker's 15th of the season. The points were secured when a free kick swung in by Kees De Boer was met by a powerful close range header from Christian Mbulu; it was the big central defender's fifth of the campaign. A very nice win indeed.

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Mbulu, Graham, Kenlock; Durrant; Murray ©; Williams, Davies, Mullin, Collier. Substitutes: De Boer (for Murray 62), Scott (for Mullin 70), Ofoborh (for Davies 78), Ward, Sea, Reynolds, Ofoborh.
Goalscorers: Collier (22), Mbulu (64)
Man of the Match: Christian Mbulu (Tranmere)
Attendance: 5875 (165 away)

https://i.postimg.cc/Bbs6nXHS/TRFC_202425Game44.png
21 April 2025

Easter Monday and a trip to the Kassam Stadium for the penultimate away trip of the season. Because he had been patient in playing back up all season, I decided to give Calum Ward his first start of the season and would keep him in for the final home game too. It enabled Marcus Dewhurst to have a well deserved rest. The scoring was opened in the 24th minute when another superbly flighted free kick from skipper Jon Murray (did I forget to mention that he and Mbulu have signed one year extensions?) and Williams headed in his 14th of the season. Nine minutes later, we doubled the lead when a Kenlock corner was headed in by Mbulu for his sixth of the season and second in successive matches.

A third came just before half time, when the recalled Sam Durrant thumped one in from 20 yards for his fourth of the season. Oxford pulled one back ten minutes into the second half when Carlo Banks diverted a shot past the bewildered Ward. Yet within a minute, we restored our three goal advantage when a mistake by U's defender Conor Lawless saw him present the ball straight to Cedwyn Scott who found Collier who unselfishly set up [Mullin for a tap in and his 13th of the season. Joe Piggott (no relation to Lester) scored their second with three minutes to go but we had the game won by then and moved onto 105 points.

Team: Ward; Nicholls, Graham, Mbulu, Kenlock; Durrant, Murray ©; Williams, Davies, Mullin, Collier. Substitutes: Carlo Banks (for Davies 42), Scott (for Williams HT), Reynolds (for Kenlock HT), Dewhurst, Sea, De Boer, Ofoborh.
Goalscorers: Williams (24), Mbulu (33), Durrant (44), Mullin (56)
Man of the Match: Sam Durrant (Tranmere)
Attendance: 5248 (338 Rovers)

https://i.postimg.cc/FzZKdNVj/TRFC-202425-Game45.png
26 April 2025

We rounded off our home programme and the month of April with another win by the odd goal in seven against a plucky Oldham side. The Latics stunned the large crowd present for the trophy handover when they scored in the 21st minute thanks to former Atalanta trainee Sebastiano Finardi. We would though turn the game on its head with four unanswered goals, three of them coming either side of half time. In the 44th minute, Alex Denny celebrated a rare start by equalising with a placed shot from long range into the bottom corner. We went ahead in the 48th minute when a weighted pass from Denny found Collier and he slotted home a left foot effort from close range. Seconds later, Denny netted his second and our third when he fired in off the crossbar from a Mullin assist.

After 64 minutes we went 4-1 ahead thanks to a second of the day and 17th of the season for Collier. The highly coveted 19 year old produced a cool but clinical finish from 12 yards to give the Latics keeper no chance whatsoever. But we seemed to switch off in the closing twenty minutes or so as Oldham scored twice. First of all, Finardi picked his spot beautifully to blast in from long range and then in the final minute of time added on Josh Caton netted to cause a few butterflies in the stomach. Yet we held on for another win, our sixth in succession.

Team: Ward; Nicholls, Mbulu, Graham, Kenlock; Durrant; Denny; Williams, Davies, Mullin ©, Collier. Substitutes: Reynolds (for Mbulu 51), De Boer (for Durrant 75), Carlo Banks (for Davies 75), Dewhurst, Sea, Scott, Ofoborh.
Goalscorers: Denny (44, 49), Collier (48, 64)
Booked: Kenlock (56), Collier (74)
Man of the Match: Alex Denny (Tranmere)
Attendance: 10,131 (393 away)

https://i.postimg.cc/VsRsFsXt/TRFC-202425-Game46.png
3 May 2025

We concluded the season with a trip to Field Mill, or the One Call Stadium as it is commercially known as, in Mansfield. The game was far from a classic as regards a performance from us, we had given a debut to one of the Club's most exciting youth prospects: 15 year old Brian Rich and to be honest the kid did alright. He certainly could be one for the future if he keeps developing as much as he has done so far. We would open the scoring with five minutes to go, Sea latched onto a Mullin through ball and although his goalbound effort was blocked by Lee: the Stags defender only managed to strike his central defensive partner and captain Frederik Nielsen with the clearance and the ball ricocheted off the big Dane and into the net. A complete fluke! Yet the home side deservedly levelled three minutes later through Owen Downey. No further scoring happened after that and we shook hands on a 1-1 draw to end another successful season.

Team: Dewhurst; Nicholls, Mbulu, Graham, Kenlock; De Boer; Denny; Williams, Rich, Mullin ©, Sea. Substitutes: Collier (for De Boer 62), Carlo Banks (for Williams 75), Davies (for Mullin 90), Ward, Murray, Scott, Reynolds.
Goalscorer: Nielsen (own goal 85)
Man of the Match: Owen Downey (Mansfield Town)
Attendance: 5237 (1664 away)

So this is how the table finished after 46 league games played, who will join us in League One next season?:

https://i.postimg.cc/mD2PRcsQ/TRFC-Final-Table2025-No-Play-Offs-Played.png
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Monthly Awards: April 2025


Here are the winners of the awards for April:

Manager of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/wTnXQdKh/L2-MOTM-Apr2025.png
Hat-trick! A third Manager of the Month award for yours truly, and if I don't take the Manager of the Year then there's got to be some kind of conspiracy going on at EFL towers!

Player of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/9fYy2RDp/L2-POTM-Apr2025.png
One of my latest Welsh Under 21 talents, got a decent future ahead of him. Second placed was our very own Christian Mbulu.

Young Player of the Month:
https://i.postimg.cc/76P0ZH7y/L2-YPOTM-Apr2025.png
Complete nobody, and another one with a double barrelled name. Second placed was the Player of the Month..

Goal of the Month: Alex Denny (Tranmere Rovers)
https://i.postimg.cc/DwVGbds6/L2-GOTM-Apr2025.png
He hasn't had many starts this season due to the quality in front of him but he produced a sublime strike against Oldham in the final home game of the season. Well done Alex!
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Decisions, decisions

I have come to the conclusion that we have too many players at the Club, probably more than most top flight sides.

First Team Contracts Expiring This Summer:
https://i.postimg.cc/52YJYTLY/TRFC-1st-Team-2025-Exp.png

So there are ten what we could call first team contract expiries. Two of them are out of our hands in the shape of Myles Kenlock and Harvey Davies, who will return to their parent clubs (Swindon Town and Leeds United respectively) in the summer once the loan ends. Both did superb jobs for me, Kenlock especially as he became the first choice left back in pre-season and kept it when the season started and only didn't feature when he was injured. Davies is a youngster who started off slow, but made an impact with some all important late goals. I might bring them back for League One. As for the others, I can see a large proportion of them leaving. We might retain the services of "Deadpool" but the others can leave. We're going to need a bit more quality for the next level and this will free up lots of wages to do so.

Reserve Team Contracts Expiring This Summer:
https://i.postimg.cc/263MMBGq/TRFC-Res-Team-2025-Exp-Pt1.png

https://i.postimg.cc/NfRV3t6x/TRFC-Res-Team-2025-Exp-Pt2.png

https://i.postimg.cc/DwgNzcYJ/TRFC-Res-Team-2025-Exp-Pt3.png

If you think that that the first team contract list was big, then look at the amount of reserve teamers that are out of contract! It is almost 50 per cent of the actual players we have here and to be honest we've stockpiled too much. A lot of these will not be good enough for League One so they'll be looking for new clubs soon. Of course if any of my backroom staff recommend we keep some of them on then we will do but I can sense an almighty cull taking place. We need to have a reserve team but the squad we have at the moment for it is too big. More money saved and available to be re-onvested in first team quality as we progress.

Youth Team Contracts Expiring This Summer:
https://i.postimg.cc/3Jw46r5s/TRFC-Yth-Team-2025-Exp.png

Only a small handful of youth contracts expiring this summer, think I might leave them to Lee Jones (Head of Youth Development) to decide if he wants to keep them or let them go.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Hope everyone is still enjoying the story as much as I'm playing and updating it.

More updates to follow soon, including a triple whammy....more to be revealed in the next few days or so!
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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End of Season Club Awards: 2024-25

Here's who won what at the Club's End of Season awards night:

https://i.postimg.cc/2SrHgX7b/TRFC-EOSAwards-202425.png

It came as no surprise whatsoever to see Neco Williams take the majority of the awards on offer. The former Anfield trainee had a remarkable first season at Prenton Park it has to be said. He started off as he was signed, at right back. Then when it was clear that we weren't getting consistent performances on the right, I pushed him further forward and he was a revelation to be said. Neco chipped in with some many valuable goals and was an integral part of the title winning side.

To sign him on a free transfer was probably the most astute signing I have ever made in this career.

https://i.postimg.cc/nh31gVLg/TRFC-EOSAwards-202425-1.png

A snapshot of who topped each of the player categories. The fact we only picked up one red card was again amazing, and I'm not concerned about Yann Songo'o and his ten yellow cards. All teams need a tough tackling central midfielder and he did that job for us perfectly. Jake Collier topped the goalscoring chart for a second successive season, and could have crashed through the 20 goal barrier again if he had been a bit more consistent earlier in the season with his form.

No wonder he's got lots of clubs interested in him.

Skipper Jon Murray was an assist machine! To say he's supposed to be rubbish at indirect free kicks, he certainly disproved that theory. All in all, a splendid season all round for us.



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

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End of Season Awards 2024-25


Here are the winners of the League Two annual awards:

Manager of the Year:
https://i.postimg.cc/wMNQkdJ7/L2-MOTS-202425.png
It had to be, it just had to be. That's another piece of personal silverware bagged, and can only enhance my reputation.

Player of the Year:
https://i.postimg.cc/VNH9QNWJ/L2-POTS-202425.png
Well done Neco on another award, really deserved. The signing of the season, and especially when it was a free transfer from Liverpool no less.

Goal of the Season:
https://i.postimg.cc/NjcXD5Xx/L2_GOTM_Aug2024.png
Nobody could better this goal from Plymouth's Brazilian. Might have to look at his availability should they not make it through the play offs as I think he's got the quality to play at a higher level.

Team of the Season:
https://i.postimg.cc/MTQQCmGL/L2-Team-Of-Year-202425.png
Five players named, and it could have been many more. Thought skipper Jon Murray was unlucky not to get one of the central midfield berths considering how creative he was this season. Collier might have got in if he had scored more goals. Why do they think it's suitable to name them in a 4-4-2 formation when clubs like ours don't play that kind of system? Answers on a postcard to the usual address haha....
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Season 2024-25 Review


Time to look back on the season just finished, my second season at the Rovers and the seventh season in this career. Unlike last season's review I'm not going to waffle on and on...

The target when we began the 2024-25 season was to avoid the drop comfortably and consolidate ourselves into a mid-table position ready for a charge at promotion the season after. Well, that was the plan, and as you know it didn't exactly finish like that. We had a steady start and slowly built up some momentum that eventually blew Colchester and the other challengers away. To win the title and by TWENTY points is the stuff of dreams. It's like the team just have it in them to go on these remarkable unbeaten runs and tear it up. Even when a key player is injured, others will come in and step up to the plate.

That's a sign of a great side. Bar a few additions, the team hasn't changed much from when I took charge in the National League in 2023. I do believe though more quality will be needed in League One. You can't expect those players who were stand outs in the National League to be just as awesome the higher the standard becomes. Unless you're Jamie Vardy of course haha.

The performance of the season in my eyes had to be winning at Colchester early in the season, it ruined their perfect start to the season and considering they were one of the favourites to win the title then it was a real marker we had set down. Completing the double over local rivals Chester was equally as sweet, there's nothing finer than having the bragging rights in local derbies is there come to think of it. Most disappointing? I'd say the home loss to Accrington Stanley where we went from being comfortable with a quarter of the game left to play to concede three goals without reply and slip to a defeat that shouldn't have happened.

The domestic Cups went well. In the Carabao Cup, we made it to the third round after knocking out Blackpool and then Premier League Leeds United. OK we narrowly lost to Reading but we had certainly shown that we had the bottle and ability to mix it up with more illustrious names. We also made the Third Round of the FA Cup for the second successive season which was pleasing no end and once more we were unlucky not to go further as a late winner for Preston saw them edge past us by the odd goal in seven. We've certainly proved we are no pushovers. I was not really bothered with the Checkatrade and still wasn't when the draw came out. If we had gotten out of that group then it would have been amazing but you get a group like what we had then on top of everything else then perhaps exiting at the group stage isn't too bad after all.

So we now wait on what 2025-26 will bring for me as a manager and for Tranmere themselves.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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A man in demand


The season is not that long since finished and clubs are looking at me to leave Tranmere and take them forward. My stock is rising and I have had three interviews for clubs in three different divisions, leaving me with a potential dilemma. They are as follows, in order of interview:

First up.
https://i.postimg.cc/0y7mXfbH/Stoke-Design.png


https://i.postimg.cc/xdxKLdk0/Stoke-Kits.png


Stadium: Bet 365 Stadium
Capacity: 30,089
2024-25 Perfornance: 18th in the Premier League (relegated), will be in the Championship next season.
Pros: Club have excellent training and youth facilities which is always a good start. Stadium is of a very decent size too so should get some decent crowds if they do well. Finances seem to be on the right track as well.
Cons: Might be asked to get them back in the Premier League at the first possible opportunity.
Affiliates: Newcastle Town (non-league), Orlando City (MLS), St. Pauli (German 3.Liga)

Next...
https://i.postimg.cc/FK7f5VR4/SWFC-Design.png

https://i.postimg.cc/VLmdL864/SWFC-Kits.png


Stadium: Hillsborough
Capacity: 39,812
2024-25 Perfornance: 23rd in the Championship, will be Divisional rivals for Tranmere in 2025-26..
Pros: One of the famous old names in English Football.
Cons: Have the least favourable finances of the three. Training and youth facilities need some serious improvement as well. The Chairman has been through seven full time managers in seven seasons. Will be expected to bounce straight back methinks.
Affiliates: Stocksbridge Park Steels (non- league)

Finally...
https://i.postimg.cc/2SXQZ6LC/West-Ham-Design.png

https://i.postimg.cc/T19mYYXM/West-Ham-Kits.png


Stadium: London Stadium
Capacity: 66,000
2024-25 Perfornance: 13th in the Premier League.
Pros: Iconic club that has had loads of famous names play for them in the past, Only had three managers in seven seasons, richest team for finances out of the three. Excellent training and youth facilities.
Cons: Moving to the Premier League so soon as after getting promoted to League One might be too fast, too quick. Could easily be under pressure to deliver if results start to go wrong horribly,.
Affiliates: Ifeanyi Ubah (Nigeria), Stirling Lions (NPL - Western Australia), VVV-Venlo (Eredivisie)

And that's where we will pause the updates...what would you do? Comment or PM me.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Job Update


So since the last update, I've actually been approached by two other clubs desperate to try and see if I'm the right person to take them forwards and leave Tranmere Rovers. I've attended interviews with them both and had replies back from the other three.

Job Interview Number 4
https://i.postimg.cc/KvBFr857/Hibs-Design.png

https://i.postimg.cc/DzyTTd35/Hibs-Kits.png

Stadium: Easter Road, Edinburgh
Capacity: 20,421
2024-25 Performance: 6th in the Scottish Premier League
Pros: Know the nation from the start of the career, just at the top level this time. Great Youth Facilities to develop the stars of tomorrow.
Cons: Breaking the stranglehold of Celtic and Rangers to win the league will be hard, only chance would be in the Cups. Small finances, would be probably selling best players to keep them out of the red.
Affiliates: None

Interview Number 5 was this...
https://i.postimg.cc/g21V94hb/FCGroningen-Design.png

https://i.postimg.cc/8ckWd02M/FCGroningen-Kits.png

Stadium: Hitachi Capital Mobility Stadium
Capacity: 22,579
2024-25 Performance: 8th in Eredivisie
Pros: New nation to add to the career. Great training facilities, almost state of the art and a decent youth structure in place. Possible European football if you do well. Decent finances
Cons: Will be hard to overcome the likes of PSV, Ajax and Feyenoord Rotterdam. Might take some time to adjust and clubs abroad aren't sometimes known for patience.
Affiliates: None

We've had replies back though from Stoke City and West Ham saying the same thing:

https://i.postimg.cc/jdwCVT4C/Stoke-Decision2025.png


Obviously they see quality in me but not enough to take a chance on me at a higher level than what I am at presently. Former Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was the choice instead, a man who got his last club relegated....

https://i.postimg.cc/SQ5Nf5b4/West-Ham-Decision2025.png

Don't they know that West Ham is the Academy of Football? Stupid owners, I hope they have a terrible season and they then realise that they are missing out on something good.

But...
https://i.postimg.cc/QtQwKFDV/SWFC-Decision2025.png


I've asked for a delay of a week to see if it is still going to be the right fit for me. Granted the Club stature is bigger than Tranmere, I have reservations about the finances and the fact Chansiri likes to get rid if things aren't going to plan. He was the guy that sacked Huntelaar, who beat me to the Stoke position!

Hibs would be a good fit but it'll be hard to break the usual cycle whilst Groningen is an unknown quantity, but then again so were Le Mans and Ilves and I kinda did alright there. Not sure if moving abroad again is a wise move yet. Might be best to see my deal out at Tranmere and see how further we can go, and then if anyone else wants me then we will see what transpires.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Squad announcement

Last Updated: 01/06/2025 12:00pm

Wales Under-21 manager Mark Duell today released his 23 man squad for the European Championship Finals this summer. The squad will play two warm up games before the tournament begins in earnest, those friendlies will be away to Liechtenstein and Switzerland. The full squad is as follows:.

Goalkeepers:
Scott Williams (Bury)
Gareth Ryan (Swansea City)
Adam Evans (Cardiff City)

Defenders:
Jamie McKinnon (Swansea City)
Dale Radford (Swansea City)
Jeff Lloyd (Cardiff City)
Lloyd Bellamy (Middlesbrough, on loan from Manchester United)
Danny Ellis (Cardiff City)
James Bloom (Cardiff City)
Anthony Stevenson (Chelmsford City)
Sam Bull (Swansea City)

Midfielders:
Tommy Hill (Cardiff City)
Matty Williams (Burnley)
Dion Tipton (TNS)
Jamie Cotterill (Carlisle United)
Curtis Yates (Sunderland)
Paul Clarke (Preston North End)
Peter Parry (Swansea City)
John Eaton (Colchester United)
Cory Bond (Swansea City)

Strikers:
Michael Sadler (Newport County)
Sam Hall (Stoke City)
Russell Burton (Cardiff City)

Wales begin their challenge for the European Under 21 title on 19 June 2025 against Sweden at MittellandArena before taking Turkey six days later, and then finishing their group games on 28 June 2025 against Italy. The top team in each of the three groups will qualify automatically for the semi final stage plus the second placed team with the best record.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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A change is imminent


Well it seems like my future is going to be resolved one way or the other soon. This is what has happened since...

So I have turned down the Sheffield Wednesday role. Not because they're going to be in the same division as Tranmere but it seems that the Chairman is too trigger happy when it comes to his managers: seven managers in as many seasons says it all. They did offer me a much increased salary than what I'm earning at Tranmere and an astonishing £8 million to spend but it's not to be. They need a Chairman that will be patient with his manager and I don't think Chansiri is that type. Bye bye Tuna Man!.

How about the others, Hibernian and FC Groningen? Well this is what they said:

SORRY, BUT NO!

Yet as soon as they had said no, then I was being offered other opportunities to move on from Tranmere. The Swansea City job was first but I didn't like the fact they're in debt and for a new Club then they need to be financially solvent so I said thanks but no thanks. I've had interviews at the following two though:

https://i.postimg.cc/26hQBpBT/Preston-North-End-Design.png

https://i.postimg.cc/NFt16N6t/Preston-North-End-Kits.png

Stadium: Deepdale
Capacity: 20,830
2024-25 Performance: 20th in the Premier League (relegated), will be playing Championship football next season.
Pros: One of the founder members of football in the English leagues. Finances are healthy enough for a relegated club. Excellent training and youth facilities. Some Premier quality players on their roster.
Cons: Could do with a bit more spending power though. Might need investment in junior coaching as it's seriously underfunded. May want an immediate return back, not sure though.
Affiliated Clubs: Bamber Bridge, Chorley (both non-league)

Then this offer came knocking unexpectedly...

https://i.postimg.cc/8PRTXZL3/Everton-Design.png

https://i.postimg.cc/9Q1CCz8Y/Everton-Kits.png

Stadium: Goodison Park
Capacity: 39,572
2024-25 Performance: 12th in the Premier League
Pros: Another famous old name in English football. Excellent training and youth facilities. Roster is littered with star names throughout. Potential for European football if really do perform. Finances and Budget are freaking huge.
Cons: Like West Ham; could go wrong horribly if results aren't as expected. Tough ask to break into the top four. Last two managers have resigned; chairman too hands on perchance? No affiliated clubs for a club of this stature.
Affiliated Clubs: None

The Everton approach came a day before this though:

https://i.postimg.cc/1tqknzHT/Preston-North-End-Decision2025.png

So I'm definitely going to be leaving Tranmere, that's now certain. Will it be the short hop across the Mersey to Goodison or a trip down the East Lancs Road to Preston? Preston must have been impressed from the Emirates FA Cup game that Tranmere had with them in 2024-25 I can surmise to approach me. Obviously I want to manage at the highest level possible so if Everton make a decision and it's a positive one before I have to give Preston an answer, then I'll probably go there. If not, Preston is good back up plan to have. Either way, I'll be looking to plunder Tranmere for both Neco Williams and Jake Collier. Top two targets and both players have release clauses I could invoke and force Tranmere to sell....

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

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Club Statement


25 June 2025

Tranmere Rovers can today confirm that manager Mark Duell has announced his departure from the Club.

Mark, who has lifted two Championships in successive seasons, has stated he has agreed terms at a new Club once his Wales Under 21 duties finish next month and sees that opportunity to enhance his managerial ambitions.

He obviously wants to manage at the highest level possible, and whilst we will be sad to see him depart, we wish him the best.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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Manager Update


25 June 2025

Preston North End are pleased to announce that Mark Duell has agreed terms to become the Lilywhites new manager.

Mark, who is currently in Switzerland with the Wales Under-21 squad, joins us after two successful seasons at Tranmere Rovers. The 43 year old, who cut his managerial teeth in 2018 at Scottish League side Edinburgh City, has won numerous trophies in his career and possesses experience gained in Scotland, Finland and France as well as in England.

To date, Mark has won trophies at every club side he has managed and is obviously a managerial legend in the making. He succeeds Philip Cocu who left the club in May, and chairrman Ira Gordon is convinced that we have acquired a special managerial talent:

"I'm pleased to announce today that Mark Duell will become our new manager.

Mark has been a success wherever he has managed, and we feel that we have obtained a special managerial talent on our hands. He has so much potential to become a real football managerial legend.

He was the outstanding candidate from all that we interviewed, and I am personally looking forward to see what magic he can do here. He can take us to the next level for sure."

Mark had this to say when we caught up with him:

"I'm so pleased to become the new manager of Preston North End. This is a special club steeped in history, and I'm sure we can build a great deal of success in the years ahead. I do thank my previous club, Tranmere Rovers, for two special seasons and wish them all the best. But when a Club like Preston come calling, it's hard to refuse. I want to manage at the highest level and with Preston, I believe I can achieve those ambitions.

I can't wait to get started."

The new manager has signed a two year deal here at Deepdale and will join us officially on 12 July 2025 when his Wales Under-21 duties end. In the meantime, Head of Youth Development Nick Harrison will continue to look after first team matters.
The Man formerly known on SUSIE as Poolie Exile
Give my story a read - Now I would walk 500 miles...

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