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Spurs Odyssey FA Cup Preview - Tranmere v Spurs, 04.01.2019

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The following are the statistics for Spurs v Tranmere Rovers.


38-39   2     3-1     2-0

Football Lge  P  W  D  L   F   A  Pts
Home (Div 2)  1  1  0  0   3 - 1   2
Away (Div 2)  1  1  0  0   2 - 0   2
Total(Div 2)  2  2  0  0   5 - 1   4



52-53   3    A      1-1   Bennett
        3R   H      9-1   McClennan 3 
                          Hollis 2 
                          Baily 2
                          Duquemin 2

01-02   5    H      4-0   Ziege, 9
                          Poyet, 36, 90
                          Sheringham, 64



89-90   4    A      2-2   Gascoigne
                          Higgins (o.g)

        4R   H      4-0   Howells 
01-02   4    A      4-0   Sheringham (p) 
                          Anderton Poyet         

"Wirral" up for the cup!

Here's a funny thing! The last time we played Tranmere was in February 2002 in the FA Cup 5th Round. Tranmere were in the equivalent of today's League One, and had beaten Cardiff 3-1 in the previous round. Now here we are, on a Friday night on The Wirral, with thanks to the football gods and BT SPORT, just three days after we beat Cardiff On New year's Day.

Football throws up lots of opportunities for trivia. Tranmere played Cardiff in their last league game of that 2001-02 season and lost at home. Cardiff were edged out of the Play-Off semi-finals by Stoke, who went on to win their way back to the Championship.

Spurs played Tranmere in both Cup competitions in the 2001-02 season. We travelled to Prenton Park in October 2001 with Glenn Hoddle at the helm and won 4-0 with goals by Sheringham (pen), Anderton, Poyet and Rebrov. Tranmere's Micky Mellon (now the manager) was sent off for two yellow cards shown by referee Phil Dowd. Spurs had a player (Sherwood) sent off too, also following two yellow cards.

Glenn took a strong team to Prenton Park, no doubt remembering all too clearly his previous visit with Southampton in February that year when Rovers sensationally came back from 3-0 down at half-time in an FA Cup Fifth Round replay only for John Aldridge's side to win 4-3 thanks to a hat-trick by former Evertonian Paul Rideout. There has often been a strong connection begtween Tranmere and the big Merseyside clubs, of course, and manager John Aldridge knew all about cup shocks having seen Dave Beasant of Wimbledon save his penalty for Liverpool in that famous 1988 FA Cup Final.

Tranmere's win over Southampton in 2001 did not preserve Aldridge's job though, as the club slipped to the bottom of the Division One (now the Championship) table and Aldridge left. These days Aldridge settles for work as a pundit on Merseyside.

Tranmere were relegated to the third tier and another former Evertonian - Dave Watson took over the manager's job. These days, Watson is Youth Team Coach at Newcastle.

The FA Cup game between Spurs and Tranmere in 2002 was at White Hart Lane and also won 4-0 with Sheringham and Poyet(2) again on the scoresheet with Christian Ziege scoring our opener. By the time we played this game we had already beaten Chelsea in a League Cup semi-final with a superb 5-1 home win in the second leg, and we had a League Cup Final (at Cardiff) to look forward to. Sadly, we lost that and our FA Cup Sixth Round game at home to Chelsea. That week in March was a desperately bad time for Hoddle's Spurs, as we lost three consecutive games 4-0 - two of them to Chelsea.

Tranmere had been a proud member of the Football League for 96 years having been an original member of the old Third Division (North) in 1921 and remained in the league until they finished bottom of League Two in 2015. In that season they were beaten 6-2 at home by Swansea in the FA Cup, for whom two former Spurs players (Carroll and Routledge) scored. Tom Carroll was actually on loan from Spurs that season.

With former FA Chief Executive Mark Palios and his wife at the executive helm, and Micky Mellon managing, Tranmere have earned their place once again in the Football League, winning last year's National League Play-Off Final 2-1. Rovers are currently 9th in League Two, three points off the play-off places, where their focus must be. Tranmere have drawn their last two games, and on New Year's Day they drew 1-1 away to Macclesfield, who are now managed by an ex centre-half we prefer not to name.

Tranmere have earned this home tie after winning their previous two ties away from home, both against National League teams. Firstly they beat Oxford City 2-0 (National League South), and then Southport 2-0, after a replay. (National League North).

By far and away Tranmere's leading scorer with 16 League Two goals to his name is 28 year old James Norwood, who has been with the club since their relegation to the National League. Norwood has only scored two goals in his last eight games though. Connor Jennings has scored more in recent games (4 in 6).

If you read this preview by (the late) Brian Judson of our 2001 Worthington Cup game you can find full details of our 9-1 FA Cup win against Tranmere on 14th January 1953, which remains to this day Rovers' record defeat. I do not expect us to match such a scoreline, but whoever Pochettino chooses will be good enough to win this game comfortably, despite BT's obvious desire for an upset.

There is good news from the club to the effect that Mousa Dembele, Jan Vertonghen and Erik Lamela have all returned to training with the squad – although they won’t be available for Friday night’s FA Cup tie at Tranmere. Erik Lamela is also back in training, but now ill, so he won't be travelling either. We must hope that two or three of them at least can be available for Tuesday night's semi-final at home to Chelsea.

I rather suspect that the five unused subs plus Oliver Skipp and Fernando Llorente will start tomorrow's game. Don't be surprised either if Troy Parrott is on the bench, and might even get some minutes. Troy has been travelling with the squad more than once recently. The team could read Gazzaniga; Walker-Peters, Foyth, Davies, Rose; Sissoko, Skipp; Eriksen, Dele, Lucas Moura; Llorente - but I really am only guessing. I'll take us to win 3-0.

Tomorrow's match referee will be Andre Marriner, who only last night had charge of Newcastle v Manchester United. The only time we've seen him so far this season was for the Premier league defeat at Watford. That's not a good sign! On the plus side, he was in charge last season for big wins over Liverpool and Man Utd (H) and the historic away win against Chelsea!

· "It was Twenty Years ago today!" - On 2nd January, 1999, Spurs beat Watford 5-2 in the FA Cup Third Round.

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