Preview: Exeter City vs Tranmere Rovers

City’s hopes of matching last season’s run in the EFL Trophy were put to bed on Tuesday night, an encouraging display against League One Northampton undone by yet more defensive frailties especially at set pieces, and this will be one area of the pitch Matt Taylor will look to focus on ahead of the visit of one of the division’s form teams. As usual Taylor rang the changes on Tuesday, so he should have a fairly fresh side to choose from for the first league match at the Park where fans will be present this season. Jake Caprice would love to have featured against the side he left in the summer, but his injury-hit start to his City career will have put paid to that.

Back in League Two after a battle by their Chairman to keep them in League One by devising an alternative to the points per game system the EFL favoured, and having lost their manager in the summer, Tranmere made a slow start which culminated in new boss Michael Jackson’s short reign coming to an end. This heralded a turnaround in their form with Keith Hill drafted in to manage a club that was on a winning run. A run of five wins in all competitions, and four clean sheets, came to an end last Saturday with a 1-3 reverse against Walsall before a 2-1 win against Manchester City’s youngsters on Tuesday night. They recruited well during the summer, with plenty of quality in the likes of Jay Spearing, James Vaughan, Otis Khan and Kaiyne Woolery, and Vaughan is the one to watch with 11 goals across all competitions to his name.

The last meetings between the sides took place in the 18/19 season, as Tranmere went up at the first attempt following their return to the league, and this form was evident as Tranmere won both matches – the corresponding fixture saw former City striker James Norwood haunt his old club with the only goal, while it was Norwood again with a brace at Prenton Park in a match that saw Dean Moxey earn an early bath. Those wins extended Tranmere’s league head to head lead, with 19 wins to City’s 12, just five matches finishing level.  Details of the last ten games can be found at

The match officials for this game:-

Referee: Kevin Johnson
Assiatant Referees: Adam Ricketts and Robert Dabbs
Fourth Official : Steven Plane

Kevin Johnson has taken charge of 13 Exeter games, details of those games can be found at

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