Lincoln City, Milton Keynes Dons and Tranmere Rovers were all promoted from League Two last season. We look at Tranmere did it, what they will bring to League One and how they can strengthen over the summer.

 

(NOTE: We purposefully decided not to include Bury out of respect for supporters who face so much uncertainty regarding the club’s future existence. We wish the Shakers every success with finding a buyer in the next three weeks.)

 

The 2018-19 story…

 

In the 2018 National League Play-Off Final, everything that could have gone against Tranmere did: Liam Ridehalgh was sent off within a minute of kick-off, then two other players were forced off with injuries before half-time.

Tranmere

 

Still, a sense of incredible defiance allowed Rovers to win that match 2-1 thanks to a late James Norwood header – it is with that type of spirit that they won a second promotion via the same format in League Two.

 

At their best, the Super White Army played with energy and intent, which was crucial to them amassing eight wins in nine over February and March, a run that elevated them comfortably into the top seven, before they beat Forest Green and Newport in the Play-Offs.

 

 

The key change came when the athletic Manny Monthe became a regular fixture; he looked far less error prone than one or two others who had played at centre-back before him and was more physically able to dominate centre-forwards, with 11 clean sheets in the Cameroonian’s last 19 league starts.

 

Experienced midfielder David Perkins improved their game management qualities after joining in January, too.

 

What they’ll bring…

 

Passion.

 

When Tranmere exited the Football League in 2014-15, the atmosphere around the Wirral was very negative – it hurt fans to see such a poor side.

 

Since Micky Mellon took over in 2017, though, the mood around the club has been lifted massively.

 

The EFL is a better place for having Tranmere around; when fans are given a team to believe in, they offer a fervent backing and that has a cyclical impact.

 

The rise during the late 1980s and early 1990s under John King shows that once the club deliver a team that wins the hearts of fans, they can turn into a juggernaut that becomes very difficult to stop.

 

Summer targets…

 

Replace James Norwood, who is out of contract this summer and looks likely to leave.

 

 

Just as importantly will be a higher volume of chance creation.

 

Tranmere ranked 12th on Expected Goals For (xGF) in 2018-19, mainly because they had a key centre-forward who did not need clear cut chances to be a great goalscorer – he was potent from outside the box.

 

The next striker might not quite be at that same level, so it will be a case of Rovers improving their productivity in midfield.

Tranmere Rovers Odds:

To Be Relegated

To Be Promoted

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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