Tottenham tie is ‘massive’ for Tranmere – boss

Tranmere boss Micky Mellon has no doubt Friday’s FA Cup third-round tie against Tottenham is “massive” in terms of helping the League Two club continue rebuilding.

Rovers sealed a return to League Two via the National League play-offs last term – their third season in the division following the back-to-back relegations of 2013-14 and 2014-15 – and are currently lying ninth.

Former Tranmere player Mellon, who took charge in October 2016, says they are “in the process of growing again.”

And when asked if a tie like the televised Spurs clash at a sold-out Prenton Park could propel them further forward, Mellon said: “Yes, it does.

“Not just finances-wise, because it’s about announcing that we’re still here. It puts Tranmere back in the eyeline of footballing people, players, all the rest of it.

“When people have a look and say ‘that’s a good club, Tranmere’, it gives you more of a chance of getting good players here. So that in itself helps.

“The finances, absolutely, because although very well-run by some fantastic owners, the Palios (Mark Palios became the club’s owner in 2014), it will help rebuild the damage that’s been done around about the club, and I mean actual physical damage, to parts of the stadium and things like that that need to be repaired.

“And I get support all the time if I need to bring in players – it will give me more of a chance of doing that as well, financially. So for a whole host of reasons it is massive for us.”

Mellon’s men got through to face Tottenham by triumphing 2-0 in a televised replay at sixth-tier local rivals Southport.

He says that match was, like last season’s victory against Boreham Wood in what was their second successive play-off final, a must-win, “crossroads game” for the club.

“I just knew if it didn’t go our way, it could have a bit of an impact on us,” he said.

“But I knew if we did get the result how big an impact it was going to have positively.”

Tranmere reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup in 2000, 2001 and 2004. They were also League Cup runners-up in 2000, and in the 1990s took part in the second-tier play-offs three times, losing in the semis on each occasion.

Mellon, who played in the club’s 2004 run, said of their slide from League One to the National League: “I think it’s a lesson to all football clubs how easily it can happen.

“If you take your eye off what’s important, even big clubs like Tranmere can slide.

“I think the lessons have been learned here. The most difficult thing was just turning it around. That was started by (his predecessor as manager) Gary Brabin. I managed to jump on that and carry it forward.

“I think we are still catching up with the size of the club, the playing squad. I think we still have some way to go to catch that up. So we’re still working hard to do that, but that’s great, that’s exciting for us.”

The Scot says his players are relishing the clash with Premier League opposition on Friday night.

“They (his players) will definitely be excited, and I want that. You’re playing Tottenham,” Mellon added.

“They’re ready and they’ll no doubt love the atmosphere under the floodlights at Prenton Park, because we all know how special that can be.

“It’ll be great to take maybe a couple of seconds to just have a little look around and say how well we have done to get to this stage.

“But as soon as the referee is about to blow his whistle, we’ll just move on and crack on.”