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Don't lose your EDGE; BRABIN URGES HIS MEN TO KEEP THEIR TOUGH STREAK.

Byline: NICK HILTON Tranmere reporter nick.hilton@trinitymirror.com @LIVECHOSPORT

MANAGER Gary Brabin does not want his Tranmere players to shave any of the competitive edge from their game, even if the cost in disciplinary penalties can take influential individuals out of the action.

Rovers will go into this weekend's encounter with National League leaders Cheltenham Town without skipper Steve Jennings, who serves the second game of a two-match suspension for collecting 10 yellow cards this season.

Fellow midfielder Jay Harris, like Jennings a tenacious tackler, currently has nine bookings to his name, putting him one caution away from a ban.

But Brabin insists his players remain free of any shackles as they chase down the target of securing a play-off spot.

He said: "I would not do anything to take away the competitive edge from our players.

"I like players who play with a little bit of edge and we have our fair share of them here.

"I want them to play their natural game.

"Of course we don't want them picking up silly bookings, which you can't make excuses for and we don't want them diving into tackles gung-ho.

"We want people to be honest in their challenges. Nine times out of 10 if you are doing that right, you will avoid a booking."

Brabin added: "If I was asking them to hold back I would not be sending out the right message. I think this group of players would not accept that. They realise the importance of winning the ball back and doing it in the right manner."

Tranmere were able to start the week's training with a full complement of senior players, although centre-back Liam Hogan was working with the rest of the squad for the first time following a lay-off of more than two months with a knee injury.

Vanarama P W Cheltenham..........32 21 Forest Green.......... 33 22 Grimsby ................ 31 16 Tranmere ............. 33 15 Dover .................... 31 15 Braintree Town ..... 29 14 Eastleigh...............30 14 Wrexham .............. 33 14 Woking ................. 33 14 Lincoln City ........... 34 13 Gateshead............. 31 14 Macclesfield .......... 33 15 Aldershot .............. 32 12 Southport ............ 32 10 Bromley ................ 31 11 Barrow .................. 32 10 Guiseley ................ 31 9 Chester FC ............ 31 9 Brabin said: "We are delighted to have Liam back with us but we will monitor his reaction and see how he progresses."

" The manager admittedAltrincham............ 31 8 FC Halifax .............. 31 7 BorehamWood.....31 6 Welling ................. 31 6 Kidderminster....... 31 5 Torquay.................29 4 Tranmere's performance in the goalless draw at Aldershot last weekend, ending a run of four straight wins, had been a little below recent levels in terms of creative and attacking play.

"That was down to us," Brabin said.

"We have good players and some of our individuals were not at their best.

"We did not create as many chances as we have in recent games but we were pleased with the clean sheet and another point.

"We try to maintain our standards and one or two players know they could have done better.

"If you're getting points you can excuse those performances once or twice a season."

Brabin said new signing Michael Higdon will have benefited from a full 90 minutes at the Recreation Ground.

Brabin deployed Higdon as a central striker, with James Norwood moving out to the left flank.

NATIONAL LEAGUE D L F APTS 9 2 63 22 72 56 57 31 71 11 4 61 24 59 9 44 33 54 7 9 55 42 52 8 7 34 22 50 8 8 48 41 50 7 12 56 44 49 7 12 55 43 49 10 11 51 45 49 6 11 39 46 48 2 16 47 40 47 6 14 37 44 42 9 13 32 42 39 5 15 51 56 38 8 14 41 58 38 10 12 30 46 37 8 14 36 47 35 9 14 31 51 33 9 15 43 64 30 11 14 25 33 29 8 17 25 43 26 8 18 32 49 23 8 17 32 59 20 He said: "We always felt we were putting a lot of expectation on Norwood up there on his own, and he has done fantastically well in the role.

"It is something we would not rule out using again.

"But it's better we bring in someone else who gives us a physical presence, who can help with the workload and chip in with some goals."

CAPTION(S):

Tranmere's players are involved in a flashpoint towards the end of Saturday's 0-0 draw with Aldershot TONY COOMBES
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 16, 2016
Words:757
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