PREVIEW Wrexham AFC v Tranmere Rovers

The last time we faced Tranmere in the league at The Racecourse was a 2-2 draw in October 2015. Ironically there might be as many players who appeared in a white shirt that night in the Wrexham side as there are survivors from Gary Mills’ selection, as Martin Riley played for Rovers whereas only Robbie Evans and Mark Carrington remain with us from the Wrexham team.

It was Evans who gave us the lead in a match which quickly slipped out of our grasp. We were ahead for just eight minutes, and an expertly taken goal by Andy Mangan left us trailing with eight minutes left and looking out of ideas.

However, a crafty stunt by Connor Jennings, who ironically is now a Rovers players, of course, earned us an equaliser. Having stopped playing to apparently tie his laces out on the flank, he stayed out wide and the Rovers side seemed to forget he was out there until he received the ball and whipped in a cross which Joe Quigley slotted home neatly.

Earlier this season we welcomed Rovers to The Racecourse in the FA Trophy, and the sides were separated by Ritchie Sutton’s 26th minute header from a free kick. However, as it turned out the match marked an important moment in the turnaround Dean Keates achieved this season: he brought Martin Riley back into the side after ten matches out, replacing Hamza Bencherif following the latter’s disaster against Macclesfield four days earlier. Riley would go from strength to strength, while Bencherif had made his last Wrexham start.

A couple of Merseysiders will bring up milestones against our Wirral rivals: Paul Rutherford makes his 375th career appearance, while Anthony Barry plays in his 275th league game.

This is my column from last week’s Leader. It forms part of the paper’s comprehensive pre-match coverage every Friday, featuring interviews, an in-depth look at the opposition and lots of statistical analysis. All content in the column (c)

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