Following the club’s appointment of Nigel Adkins as manager on Thursday afternoon, Tranmere are back in action this Saturday as they face a long FA Cup trip to Stevenage.

It is fair to say that Adkins didn’t perform as well as everyone would have liked in the interim position. However, owner Mark Palios told ‘A Trip To The Moon’; podcast that “Me and – co owner and wife – Nicola will look into appointing him as he knows the players and how they work.”

Due to Rovers being in the drop zone with games against fellow relegation threatened sides Forest Green and Sutton United coming up, there have been fans that have said the game against Stevenage is a ‘free hit’. 

However, due to the reward that the FA Cup can give I’m of a different opinion. 


Tranmere have been struggling this season to find any form in League Two, picking up an incredibly poor total of 10 points from a possible 48. This is a solid reason for confidence to drop out of any side.

However, a new competition brings a new challenge and when the team will be looking to bounce back from a run of five defeats, progression into the second round of The FA Cup would be a much needed boost ahead of two games against fellow relegation threatened sides – FGR and Sutton United. 


As Tranmere fans have experienced very recently, money generated from The FA Cup provides a much needed source of funds for the January transfer window. From there the players brought in can play a part in the club staying up.

Two examples of this happening are 2018-19 when a packed out Prenton Park witnessed Spurs come to the Wirral. Players such as central midfielder David Perkins and winger Kieron Morris were signed following this and the club were promoted in the summer.

In 2019-20 a rammed Prenton Park witnessed Manchester United’s visit. Players such as experienced defender Peter Clarke and Striker James Vaughan were signed following the game that year and the club came incredibly close to staying up but for the COVID pandemic. 


As it is a cup game, it is expected that Tranmere will rotate some of their players. However, does this make the game a ‘free hit’? Not for me, the players that come in will need to prove their talent as it should be relatively easy to get into the starting XI given the low quality of the side.

This game could be the start that some need to build up their career on the Wirral. Two players in particular are Adkins’ signings 21-year-old midfielder Joe Starbuck and 23-year-old defender Jean Belehouan. However, Chris Merrie has also found himself out of the starting XI.

Nigel Adkins’ first game since managerial appointment

Touching on the confidence of the side, this will be Nigel Adkins’ first game since his appointment as manager on Thursday after a poor performance in the interim position.

Following the dismissal of manager Ian Dawes, Adkins has won two of his nine games in the stand-in role which has taken the club into the danger zone.

The players may understand what the 58-year-old can do already, given his glamorous CV in the hot-seat at clubs such as Southampton. But if he can guide the side to an unexpected victory, the team may be provided with a further reason to work hard for him to succeed and to push on in the league. Everyone needs a confidence booster. 


Luke Norris v Kane Hemmings

The great battle of this weekend, if both players are to play of course, sees former Stevenage striker Luke Norris face up against former Tranmere striker Kane Hemmings.

Norris is completing his comeback from a long injury, playing the last 20 minutes last weekend against Stockport, thus may be selected as game time will be important to him.

Hemmings has been being used as a substitute, whilst Elliott List and Jamie Reid are given the nod to start, but the 32-year-old netted against Derby County last time out. It will be an interesting battle at the top end of the pitch.

Norris’ stats at Stevenage – 31 goals in 104 games. 

Hemmings’ stats at Tranmere – 16 goals in 62 games.