THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Lack of goals has Rovers facing successive relegations

icon trapdoor24 April ~ These are bleak times at Tranmere. Fans are studying the permutations ever more closely, ahead of this Saturday’s penultimate game of the season, away at Plymouth. But on a run of four straight defeats without so much as a solitary goal, we don’t need a calculator to tell us that without two wins, we are only going in one direction. After a 94-year tenure, and just 12 months after relegation from League One, we are in danger of going out of the League without so much as a whimper.

When Micky Adams took over as manager from rookie Rob Edwards in October, he was seen as a wily old head, able to take control of the dressing room and reassert some command that his younger predecessor may have lacked. An initial steadying of the ship backed up this notion, our awful start to the season was reversed and some encouraging performances around Christmas and New Year saw us hit the heady heights of 17th spot.

However, although Adams’s CV is littered with promotion success, a closer inspection shows plenty of fallow periods. To the chagrin of many in the stands, we seem to have caught him on one of his downward curves. Post-match interviews in the lead up to last week’s parting of the ways showed increasing frustration and bewilderment.

Nonplussed as Adams had become, any fan can tell you that, as ever in recent seasons, it is a cutting edge that we have been missing. Many defeats this year have only been by a single goal margin, but that is scant consolation when viewed through the prism of goallessness that is our forward line. We have only scored more than twice in a match on two occasions in 2014-15.

The club’s official tone changed this week, as new caretaker boss Alan Rogers sought to avoid any confusion by laying the blame for Rovers’ predicament squarely on the players. Such straight-talking, especially from a former Tranmere favourite such as Rogers, is welcome but at this stage it could well be too little, far too late.

It is no wonder that the legion of players to have represented the club this season have had difficulty forming a team. We have used a staggering 51 players, many on the most fleeting of loans. The last-minute strike from Everton loanee George Green to earn a 1-1 draw against AFC Wimbledon is rare example of a useful contribution from one of our temporary signings

Whichever names make the cut at Plymouth this weekend, Rogers’s team talk should at least be straightforward. Two games to save our status, two games to avoid the drop. Tristan Browning

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