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Pitch is no excuse; Mellon tells Man United

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26 Jan 2020
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Tranmere manager, Micky Mellon has warned Manchester United against using the poor pitch as an excuse in their FA Cup fourth-round match at Prenton Park.

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Tranmere defeated Watford 2-1 on a heavily sanded surface on Thursday to book a home tie with Manchester United this Sunday.

The pitch, which Tranmere shares with Liverpool women had been criticized.

“People get confused and think they’ve got to play on a different pitch. We’ll play on the same pitch.” Said Mellon.

“What is it’s windy? What if it’s hailstones? Good players can adapt and adjust to anything, that’s what you expect of them.”

Tranmere’s third-round replay with Watford was initially postponed. The reason being the presence of a waterlogged pitch. When it went ahead on Thursday, the surface included several bald patches with both wings heavily sanded.

Nonetheless, Mellon said the players must adapt to the pitch.

He added, “They know what the outcome has got to be and that’s got to be trying to win a game of football and good players will find a way of doing that on any surface.”

On the other hand, United has lost four of their past seven matches. But with Tranmere third bottom in League One and three points adrift of safety, Mellon’s sympathy is in short supply.

He said, “For every football manager, I know how tough it is regardless of where they are and what their situation is. We have different challenges and it’s tough for everybody.”

Solskjaer as well said his players need to be focused. “The pitch is not great but that’s the same for both of us.”

“The players just have to be focused and ready. There are divots everywhere. So everyone has just got to be focused, both for injuries but also, of course, the bounce of the ball.”

Team pack

Tranmere expects strikers Morgan Ferrier and Paul Mullin to be available. Ferrier was withdrawn midway through the second half against Watford on Thursday. His replacement Mullin was himself taken off before the end of extra-time.

Midfielder Ollie Banks’ quad injury is likely to keep him out of action for another couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, Manchester United will have defender Victor Lindelof available. The Sweden international missed the midweek loss to Burnley through illness. Eric Bailly could make his long-awaited return from a knee injury.

Solskjaer is expected to rotate his squad. However, the Norwegian is short of a few options. Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay, Marcos Rojo and Axel Tuanzebe will remain sidelined. Timothy Fosu-Mensah is stepping up his recovery.

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  • Micky Mellon
  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
  • Tranmere
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