We are now into that time of the year where the season is over for most sides in England, but the dream of reaching Wembley and earning promotion to the next division is still within reach for those who managed to squeeze their way into the playoff places this time around.
Tranmere host Forest Green at Prenton Park on Friday night in the first leg of their meeting in the League Two playoffs. Tranmere will be hoping to make it back-to-back promotions after being promoted from the National League and making their return to the Football League last time out.
However, Tranmere may find it difficult to edge past Forest Green who have already beaten them twice during this season, making them one of only two sides to register the double. Forest Green secured a 3-1 win from the game they hosted back in October, and they also picked up three points when they travelled to Prenton Park on Good Friday.
There wasn’t much to separate the two clubs after the final round of fixtures as Forest Green finished on 74 points, just one more than their playoff rivals Tranmere. Forest Green ended the season with a 0-0 stalemate at home to Exeter whilst Tranmere finished up with a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Crawley away from home.
In terms of injury news ahead of Friday night, Tranmere are expected to be without Luke McCullough, Evan Gumbs and veteran Football League forward, Ishmael Miller. Forest Green head into the first leg with zero injury concerns which will be refreshing and a relief for manager Mark Cooper. Gavin Gunning is expected to start at centre half for the visitors, while Nathan McGinley may get the nod for a spot in the centre of the park. George Williams and Dayle Grubb are currently competing for the role out wide on the left.
Tranmere have been relatively strong at home this season and they recently won six on the spin at Prenton Park before going on a recent blip. Yes, Forest Green may have secured a double over the Merseyside club this season, but I like the price of 2.25 for the Tranmere win. Micky Mellon will be drilling it into his players how important it is for them to take a positive result into the second leg to stand a chance of a big day out at Wembley.
Both teams to score looks like a good bet at 1.86 as Tranmere will be desperate to get themselves on the board before they make the trip to The New Lawn for the second leg, and, Forest Green have managed to score in an impressive 83% of their away games this season.
Forest Green may hold the advantage when it comes to the head to head, but Tranmere Rovers will be grateful to have the league’s top scorer, James Norwood, within their ranks. The 28-year-old has scored an impressive 29 goals this campaign and he looks like good value to score anytime at 2.30 on Friday night. Norwood is readying to take on his former club Forest Green where he made over 160 appearances in a four year spell, but he will be aiming to damage their hopes of promotion in the coming week.
Both teams to score @ 1.86
Tranmere Rovers – Win @ 2.25
James Norwood to score anytime @ 2.30