Tranmere host Barrow this weekend after beating them on both occasions last season by a goal, despite the visitors finishing higher in the league. Neither side are clear favourites and the match looks set to be a tight encounter with both teams wanting to have a positive start to the new campaign.
Tranmere have been around the mid table ranking for the past two League two seasons and they will be hoping that this year they can progress towards the playoff spots. The Super White Army’s biggest problem last season was in front of goal, where they tallied up a rather poor record of 45 goals in 46 games, which was the third worst in the league. In contrast, their defensive record was the 7th best which is why they were able to finish in 12th place. Tranmere also have a clear home advantage which has seen them perform significantly better at Prenton Park than on the road.
Unfortunately, Tranmere were unable to claim a victory in pre-season, which will concern Ian Dawes. Yet their recent 1-1 draw against Wigan Athletic will set the foundation for the players to build upon going into Saturday’s fixture.
After narrowly avoiding relegation in the 2021/22 season, Barrow significantly improved last year and eventually finished in 9th place, a massive improvement that the fans and head coach Pete Wild can be proud of. On their travels last season, Barrow were rather average compared to when they played at home, which is an aspect Wild will want to improve upon. The Bluebirds scored an underwhelming 18 goals in 23 away matches, which puts them amongst the worst for away goals in League Two. They also conceded nearly double the amount of goals on the road than they did at Holker Street.
That said, Barrow have had a quietly impressive pre-season and they seem to have found their shooting boots and defensive resilience. They defeated Preston North End 1-0 at home, as well as a 4-1 victory against Newcastle’s under 21’s. They did also suffer a 5-0 defeat to Blackpool but that result can be seen as a learning curve for the squad.
Over the last few seasons, Tranmere and Barrow have had some extremely close fixtures but it seems that the Super White Army come out on top more often that not. The last time Barrow beat Tranmere was in 2017 and we have witnessed eight meetings since that result.
This tie will once again be close and as the odds suggest, it could go either way, but Barrow have looked sharper in pre-season and I think they may just take the win.