THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Rovers struggling to score this season

icon relegation1213 October ~ As Tranmere fell to the foot of League One last week, even the optimists among us felt our glasses were noticeably less than half-full. A year on from a 12-game unbeaten start that kept us in the top two until February, we are now on the most wretched run that many in the crowd can remember. Sixteen points from the last 81 is only sending us in one direction, and with a first return to the bottom tier in 25 years already looking a distinct possibility, it is worrying that under-pressure manager Ronnie Moore seems as bemused as the fans at our swift decline.

Theories abound about how to improve results, but the harsh fact is that in the league this term, Tranmere have been in the lead for a woeful total of just 12 minutes. Moore or Mourinho, the problem is clear – we can't score. The midfield creativity and aggression of James Wallace and Andy Robinson are missing due to injury, and four of last season's most influential players have been lost to other clubs. Old heads Ian Goodison and Ryan Lowe may be experienced, but so far it isn't nearly enough.

Given our current malaise, a visit to high-flying Bradford is not ideal. Unbeaten at home, and in the play-off spots already, City will be keen to keep last season's upward trajectory going. Even with top scorer Nahki Wells injured, the thought of facing Rovers will hardly be giving Phil Parkinson sleepless nights.

Moore, meanwhile, needs a noticeable change in fortune to save him from the dubious honour of being the first Rovers manager to be sacked twice. The last time he was in the position, in 2009, even coming within two minutes of the play-offs in the last game of the season wasn't enough to save him. Chairman Peter Johnson then embarked on an ill-fated and very unpopular adventure with John Barnes at the helm.

Perhaps the only thing staying Johnson's hand this time around is the realisation that a club low on budget, confidence and playing talent would seem like a very unattractive proposition to any prospective applicant. Inevitable message board speculation has our League Cup hero from 13 years ago, David Kelly, as the desired replacement for Moore if the team doesn't perk up soon, although a switch from his assistant's role at Nottingham Forest, pushing for promotion to the Premier League, would surely be one of this season's more unusual career moves. Regardless of who is in charge, starting at Bradford, we urgently need to get some points on the board. Tristan Browning

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