Rovers v Ebbsfleet (Play Offs)

Sparky

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Here we go then. The season comes down to a single cup final type game which if we win, will result in a trip to Wembley 7 days later.

Ebbsfleet are in good form and have lost only once since we beat them 3-0 in early Feb with Nors grabbing a brace and Cookie with the other. Fleet have no household names although the likes of Weston & Kedwell are experienced at this level. The latter has 18 goals though this season so needs keeping an eye on. He’s a bit of a poacher.

Personally I would have preferred Aldershot but even so we shouldbe too strong for our opponents, even if CJ and Buxton miss out – although bigAdam is back in training I think.

As for team selection, suspect it’ll be the recent back 4, Hughes/Norburnin the middle with Cookie/Nors up top. But they need service so the wide men isthe dilemma. Both Ginnelly and Cole flatter to deceive at times and let’s faceit, if Tollit & CJ were fit then Josh & Larnell wouldn’t start. But wehave to make the most of what we have. Like many others I would like Clarke forhis direct running and pace but think MM will stick with Josh & Larnell.

I could be paranoid here but I am concerned about momentum.Yes Fleet will be tired from last night but the confidence/boost it will havegiven them is priceless. They were down and out in the shootout and turned itaround. We on the other hand have no momentum – we’ve lost our last 2 home games– both of which have been pretty dire. Yes we played the kids in one and the otherwas a dead rubber but even so, I hope it doesn’t take some of our players someminutes to get going as we don’t have time in a one off match to mess around.No doubt our visitors will enjoy the underdog tag and the whole “all thepressure is on Tranmere to get up, we’re just here to enjoy ourselves”.

Prediction: a narrow rovers win would do but I’m expecting anervy affair whatever happens.
 

Cowshed Kid

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Agree with Sparky that essentially we are asking the players to switch back on.
I don't recall many games where we've been at the opposition right from the off.
We desperately need to get them on the backfoot early on and hopefully get the opener.
If we start sluggish and they get a foothold then we could be in for a tough time.
Do hope Clarke gets a shirt.
 

Sparky

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Just watched the highlights from the aldershot 2nd leg last year. The team has changed quite a bit as it included Ihikwe, Maynard, Stockton & Wallace.
 

Ian

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As long as the players are ready mentally I don’t see this being a problem. I certainly don’t think they’ll be pushing us back into our half so we have to take the game on. We are the home side, our home form is excellent and we have to do the business. If they fail, sack them all!
 
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ok calm down . bit harsh . if we had a good pre season and good recruitment in the summer witch falls on one head . there is only one person who should and could be sacked
 
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just been on the fleet chat and already on to the 3rd coach should be a great turn out from them 5800 home tickets sold witch is a little disappointing . need a real big push only 400 sold today
 
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I think anyone who expects an easy ride on Saturday will be in for a shock. I agree with Sparky's comments about momentum and confidence. Ebbsfleet are clearly a better side now than when we played them in February and I think the signing of Corey Whitely alone makes them a significantly more dangerous team than they were back then. Add in the experience and quality of Kedwell, Drury and Coulson and they have as much attacking quality as anybody in the division really. Their two centre halves were solid yesterday as well, although Cook and Nors will test them far more than Aldershot did.

The absence of Buxton and Jennings is still a worry for me. Against a bottom half side it would not matter, but against a decent team in a game of this magnitude it is the marginal differences which often decide the result. I am not convinced Cole and Ginnelly will do enough in the wide areas and I think we will be too lightweight in midfield if both those players start. I would like Clarke to play ahead of Ridehalgh but doubt he will.

I think the tie is in the balance but however we start the game, the attitude of the crowd is going to be crucial. The players will need raucous and continuous backing, especially in periods of the game where we are struggling.

I am just hoping that Cook and Norwood can be the difference for us again. We rally need to score early and make Ebbsfleet chase the game, as there must come a point in the match where their recent schedule takes a toll on them physically.
 

Ian

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If we fail I hope that we do not turn against the team. We can only do our best on the day.
That all most of us ask for. As long as the players turn up and put in the effort. If they do we’ll be fine.
 

Sparky

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Slightly linked but borehamwood who I fear out of all the teams are
2-0 up against Fylde after 20 minutes
 
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Wood have been excellent so far, similar to when they beat us a couple of months ago. Definitely the best of the four quarter final teams. Their front three are very good.
 

bigmart

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Really looking forward to the game on Saturday, going for a 2 0 win cook & norwood
 

drwhoman

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I see from MM’s comments that Buxton might be available being back in full training as is James Wallace. It will be interesting to see if James makes the bench on Sat. If Adam does play then maybe Harris, Norburn and Hughes will play in midfield.
 

Ian

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It’s looking promising for Buxton which is great news as we wouldn’t have to swap and change too much. Not sure how useful Wallace would be as he hasn’t played a competitive game for months.

BW playing well. Tinpot ground, not even full.
 
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So, it's BW. Personally, I think they will beat Sutton and may well face us in the final. If they get into the EFL, it will be an incredible achievement, as one of the smallest clubs in the NL.
 
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I am not sure it is an incredible achievement, as their chairman has spent an absolute fortune on players, reportedly more than Fylde.

However, I agree they are a better footballing team than Sutton and I would not be surprised if they beat them.
 

drwhoman

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With Wallace, I agree that he has not played much but if there are fifteen to go and you need a game breaker he is probably a better option than one or two others. A quality player whose career has been badly blighted by injury. It is amazing that he still keeps coming back!
 

Ian

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Yes, a quality player at this level but his comebacks usually consist of a few games before he is injured again. I’ve always been one for giving him a chance because of his quality but I’m starting to doubt whether he’ll ever really be fit again.
 
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BW's really is an incredible story. Their gates barely top 10% of ours, so the team gets little vocal support. There may be money in the club, but the players and manager have done really well.
 
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