Tranmere Rovers host Spurs in the first match of the FA Cup Third Round on Friday night. Spurs travel to Prenton Park for the first time since 2001, a match in which current Tranmere manager Micky Mellon was sent off, and will hoping that the League Two side do not cause an FA Cup upset.
Mauricio Pochettino is expected to ring the changes to his Spurs side as they are in the midst of a busy winter schedule and have important upcoming matches versus Chelsea in the Carabao Cup and Manchester United in the Premier League soon after. However despite the prospect of rotation and the huge matches on the horizon, he will be hoping his side to not give Tranmere the opportunity for a third round replay.
Tranmere currently sit ninth in League Two after gaining promotion from the National League last season via the playoffs. They also have a history for their giant killing capabilities in cup competitions as in 2000 they reached the League Cup final and later on they reached the FA Cup quarter-final three times in five years despite never making it to the top division. This season they defeated Oxford City 2-0 in the first round and overcame Southport in the second round, with the help of a replay, to set up a tie with Spurs.
Our #FACup campaign begins!
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 4, 2019
Tranmere v Spurs FA Cup Team News
Spurs have a number of injuries to contend with still. Belgian duo Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele have both returned to training but will not be available against Tranmere. Similarly Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama are continuing rehabilitation and will not be available.
Erik Lamela has recovered from the injury which has kept him out of the Spurs team recently but will not be available against Tranmere because of illness. Elsehwere Serge Aurier will be in the squad but Pochettino indicated in his press conference on Thursday that he may not start.
There may also be chances for the players from the under 23 team to get some matchday experience or even some first team minutes. Oliver Skipp is a player who has got himself into the first team squad this season and there may be opportunities for 16 year old Irish striker Troy Parrott as well as 18 year old defender Timothy Eyoma.
Tranmere will undoubtedly go full strength against Spurs and a sold out Prenton Park will be dreaming of a cup upset once more. James Norwood is their main danger up front and has scored 16 goals in 25 matches in League Two this season.
Good to be back on the training field… pic.twitter.com/ckQXCEeC64
— Mousa Dembélé (@mousadembele) January 3, 2019
Tranmere v Spurs FA Cup Predicted Team
Paulo Gazzaniga will start in goal tonight with Hugo Lloris certain to be rested. The defence will also be changed with Ben Davies, Juan Foyth and Kyle Walker-Peters likely to be picked after all being on the bench against Cardiff in Spurs’ last encounter.
As for the centre of midfield, Spurs have limited numbers. Oliver Skipp will likely start his second senior game for Spurs and Moussa Sissoko may not get an opportunity for a rest because of injuries to Dier, Wanyama and Dembele.
In front of them Lucas Moura is certain to come into the side and it will be interesting to see who else will be included in the attacking midfield positions. Dele Alli could make an appearance from the offset and there may be a surprise appearance for Georges-Kévin N’Koudou, who has only appeared on the bench a handful of times for Spurs this season.
Up front Fernando Llorente will come in for Harry Kane in what could be one of his last appearances for the club with rumours of him leaving in the January transfer window.
What the Managers Said
“I think the objective for the club is to be in the top four and to play in the Champions League. Of course after the two competitions like Carabao Cup or FA Cup, we are going to try to win those two competition. We are in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup and we start the FA Cup tomorrow. We are going to try. Why not? But I think if you ask all the people here in the club, or the players, the principle focus is always the Premier League or Champions League. But of course it should be very nice to have the possibility to win the FA Cup of course.” (football.london)
Tranmere Manager Micky Mellon
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for the club to go and announce to the footballing world that it is still here. As everybody knows, we’ve had some tough times, so it’s important we go out there and take part in a fantastic occasion. We’ll go and do that the best way we can. It’s a massive game for us and a big, big ask, but we’re going to give it everything we’ve got and try to represent the club, as we always do, properly.” (Sportsmole)
Tranmere v Spurs FA Cup Stats
- Tranmere are looking to reach the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time since 2003-04
- Spurs are unbeaten against Tranmere in eight previous meetings in all competitions
- The last 3 encounters between the two teams have all ended 4-0 to Spurs
- Spurs have progressed from 17 of their past 18 FA Cup games against opponents from a division below them.
🗓 February 17, 2002
🔎 Spurs 4-0 Tranmere
💥 Christian Ziege ⚽ 9'
💥 Gus Poyet ⚽ 36', ⚽ 90'
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 3, 2019
Tranmere v Spurs Referee
Andre Marriner will be the man in the middle on Friday night. So far this campaign he has took charge of a Spurs match once, in their 2-1 defeat to Watford at Vicarage Road. He has received criticism for not sending off Jonjo Shelvey in the last game that he officiated in between Newcastle and Manchester United.
Tranmere v Spurs FA Cup Prediction
A fired up Tranmere in front of a packed out Prenton Park under the lights and live on the TV has all the ingredients of a cup upset. However Spurs have a number of strong back up players that should be too strong for their opponents.
The start of the match could be nervy, but once Mauricio Pochettino’s side find their feet then they should be able to put Tranmere to bed.
Our prediction is Tranmere Rovers 1-3 Spurs.
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