Tranmere Rovers will face off against Oxford United for a place in the final of the 2020 Papa John’s EFL Trophy.

Rovers will travel to the Kassam Stadium in a one-legged semi-final on Tuesday the 16th of February.

Tranmere Rovers were the underdogs of the draw as they are the last team from League Two left in the competition.


Tranmere face tough test

Oxford United sit 18 places higher than Tranmere Rovers in the English football pyramid. Karl Robinson’s side are currently in 10th place and sit just 3 points off the playoff spots.

Tranmere will face a tough task as Oxford have been on a fantastic run of form recently. The League One side are unbeaten in 13 games in all competitions.

The last time the teams faced off was in 2019, Oxford won 3-0 that day. At the time both teams were in the third division and they only played each other once due to the season ending early.

Tranmere will have to look out for danger man, Matty Taylor, the striker has 11 goals so far this season.

If Rovers were successful against Oxford United, then it would be the first time they have reached the Football League Trophy final since 1991. That year, Tranmere were runners up after losing 3-2 against Birmingham City in the final.

Picture by Rick Weston (Creative Commons)
Picture by Rick Weston (Creative Commons)

Journey to the semi finals

The League Two side qualified for the knock-out stages after coming through a group of Port Vale, Wigan Athletic and Liverpool under 21’s. A 3-2 win in a mini-derby with Liverpool under 21’s was the highlight of the group stage.

Rovers eliminated two more youth teams in the next two rounds as Manchester City and Leicester City were dumped out of the competition.

This set up a quarter final clash with League 1 highflyers Peterborough. Tranmere produced a quality performance to progress to the semi-finals. A freekick from Danny Lloyd and a header from Paul Lewis helped to cement a place in the last four.

Another Wembley day out?

Tranmere have been regulars for a trip to Wembley over the past few years after back-to-back promotions in 2018 and 2019.

On 12 May 2018, Tranmere won promotion back to the football league with a 2–1 win against Boreham Wood. The victory at Wembley also gave Tranmere their first trophy in 27 years. The following year Tranmere beat Newport County 1–0 to gain promotion to League One for the 2019–20 season.

Reaching the final would mean Tranmere could be part of an EFL Trophy first, as two finals will be played in succession over the 13th and 14th March 2021. Portsmouth and Salford City will play for the 2020 title after last year’s final was cancelled.

Tranmere will hope they can come out on top in their semi-final clash and book another trip to Wembley.

Featured Image by IJA (Creative Commons)