November 8, 2014
Manager Micky Adams insists the FA Cup has the potential to deliver the benefits in confidence and cash for Tranmere Rovers. He intends to pick the strongest possible side for the first round tie against Bristol Rovers.
While the Wirral club’s priority is pulling away from the foot of the League Two table, the Pirates’ visit to Prenton Park won’t be approached as an opportunity for tinkering. Adams said: “I would not say the FA Cup is a platform for experimenting.”
“A cup run would be great for confidence and belief. It would mean we would win games, which we have not done too many times this season. We also have to consider the revenue from the cup and what that does for the football club as a whole, not only from my point of view but the chairman’s. I think the FA Cup at this level should be treated with the respect it deserves and we will do that.”
The man who took charge of team affairs three draws ago, can’t point to any special cup giant-killing acts in his management career. To reach the stage of the competition where big paydays can be found, Tranmere must clear hurdles. The visit from a big city club who dropped into the Conference at the end of last season, will be far from easy to negotiate.
Bristol Rovers have made a decent start in their attempts to bounce back into the Football League at the first attempt. They hold fifth place in the table under the guidance of manager Darrell Clarke, who was appointed in March. That puts them within half a dozen places of Tranmere but the narrow divide includes Football League status.
Adams said: “They say there’s not a lot of difference between the top end of the Conference and the league we are in. But it is easier said than done in getting promoted. They have to be consistent over a full season to get into the Football League.”
“Bristol Rovers are the standout big club in the Conference and they can pull in gates of over 6,000. Darrell Clarke is a manager who is new to this sort of level. He’s got the first crack at restoring Bristol Rovers to the Football League and I think that’s one of the better jobs in the Conference.”
Adams added: “Any fixture is difficult when you are second to bottom of the Football League. But that does not tell the whole story. I feel over the last three games we have shown strength of character. I would like to think we are on an upward spiral. We have to make sure we are nice and positive going into this cup tie. I don’t want any negative thoughts.”
Adams is still waiting for Tranmere to score the first goal in a game. He said: “It would be good to see us take the lead. I have to say the goals we have conceded since I’ve been here have not been good goals. I have not seen a team tear us apart.”
Tranmere will be without tall striker Armand Gnanduillet today because Chesterfield, who released Gnanduillet on a month’s loan to Rovers, have not given the player permission to play in cup competitions.
The four other loan players on Tranmere’s boooks, Janoi Donacien, Danny Johnson, Josh Thompson and Steve Jennings, have clearance to play in the FA Cup. Adams reports Liam Ridehalgh is back in contention for a starting place but longer-term casualties Jason Koumas, Danny Woodards and Matt Hill are ruled out.
(Adapted from the Liverpool Echo interview with Micky Adams on Friday 7th November 2014 with thanks.)