Nigel Adkins and Rob Apter missed out on the League One Player and Manager of the Month awards for November, but can they help turn Tranmere’s season around?
Rovers winger, Apter was shortlisted for the SkyBet League Two Player of the Month award. He competed against Ali Al-Hamadi, George Ray, and eventual winner Jake Young.
Despite missing out on the award, the nomination will only help to boost Apter’s confidence.
Maintaining the 20-year-old’s impressive form will be essential for Tranmere as they look to turn their season around. Apter was nominated alongside manager Nigel Adkins who was narrowly edged out of the Manager of the Month award by Barrow’s Pete Wild.
— Tranmere Rovers FC (@TranmereRovers) December 5, 2023
Adkins has begun to see the fabled “new manager bounce” after 13 games in permanent charge of Tranmere. At the time of his appointment Tranmere where down in the depths of the relegation zone with just one win from the first eight fixtures of the season.
Adkins’ away record still leaves much to be desired, with just a solitary win, two draws and five losses from seven away trips. However, the former Southampton manager has transformed Prenton Park into a fortress. The Whites have lost just once at home under the new boss, achieving four wins and a draw.
With Tranmere having escaped the relegation zone, a noticeable upturn in form has been rubber-stamped by their nominees for Player and Manager of the Month.
An influential figure in Tranmere’s change in fortune, Apter has blossomed under Adkins. His stats from November alone speak for themselves – four goals from four matches in League Two and a goal in a hard-fought 4-3 FA Cup loss to Stevenage.
Apter left the Tranmere Academy aged 16, after eight years in the system. He since signed for Blackpool and has made six appearances for Scotland U-19s.
The now-20-year-old returned on loan from Blackpool and initially struggled for game-time at Tranmere. He was granted just 28 minutes from his first five appearances for the Whites, all of which were off the bench. Once again coming off the bench, Apter caught the eye of Nigel Adkins, grabbing an assist in Tranmere’s 2-1 loss to Doncaster.
Adkins has shown faith in the loanee, and Apter repaid him with a goal in two successive games against Stevenage and Forest Green Rovers.
He then bagged a brace against Gillingham before scoring once more against Mansfield Town.
Since his integration into the first team, Tranmere have seen a definite upturn in results. Aside from narrow losses to league leaders, Stockport and League One forerunners, Stevenage, Tranmere have been unbeaten.
Rovers fans will be hoping that this isn’t a false dawn, and that they will be able to look back in April at this as the turning point in their season.
Matching their 12th place finish last season is an attainable goal so long as they can maintain their strong home record and start picking up some wins on the road.
Having a committed man like Adkins at the helm should help to inspire the Whites to a strong second half of the campaign.