Tranmere v Bolton, Carling Cup, August 25, 2009
The Ginger Mourinho is anything but special at the moment.
The most unfashionable manager in the Premier League, at one of the most unfashionable clubs in the Premier League, faces the daunting prospect of a banana-skin tie away at League One Tranmere Rovers on Tuesday night in the Carling Cup, and another defeat for the Trotters would see coach Cary Megson fighting for his job as the boo-boys prepare to lower the guillotine.
The chorus of “We want Megson out” rang loud amougst the Bolton faithful on Saturday as the club handed Hull a first home win in what seems like an entirety, and the manager admitted such intense pressure made the Carling Cup clash against Tranmere all the more difficult.
Megson: “We’ve got a really, really difficult game coming up against Tranmere - not just because they are a decent side on their own ground with a chance of upsetting the odds, but also because we’ve got Liverpool at home coming up. We’ve got to make sure that everybody in the club sticks together. We’ve been here before and we’ve done it and we’ll have to do it again.”
No Premier League points and no goals to boot, Bolton need to turn things round at Prenton Park. Sadly though the omens for an upturn are bleak being that it is now 12 matches since Bolton last won away from home. And more specifically, if Bolton are to win at Tranmere then someone within the side is going to have to find their shooting boots.
Johan Elmander (13/2 to score first) looks like a striker who has totally forgotten how to put the ball in the back of the net while foul-merchant Kevin Davies (15/8 to score) is firing blanks in equal measure. That has shifted an unfair amount of pressure on new signing Chung-Yong Lee to hit the ground running, while Megson has also begun to introduce 17-year-old striker Danny Ward (7/4 to score) as the quest to find a goalscorer has filtered into the Bolton acedemy.
But for all of Bolton’s woes, Tranmere can hardly be painted to be world-beaters themselves.
The bastard-child of the Liverpudlian football scene received a high-profile shot in the arm at the start of the season as John Barnes and his sidekick Jason McAteer rolled into the club to take over the management. Yet, the former Liverpool stars have had little success in their opening few weeks of the season, recording one win and three losses in their first four matches of the new year.
Tranmere will be hoping that top scorer Ian Thomas-Moore (2/1 to score) will recover from a groin strain that saw the forward come off last Saturday. And it is a similar story for centre-back Ian Goodison, who was also replaced at the weekend after complaining of a twinge in his hamstring.
101predicts: Tranmere 1 - Bolton 2 (7/1)
Full match odds here.