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IT'S A REAL PAIN! ROVERS 0 WALSALL 0 TOM CAVILLA at Prenton Park Tranmere end pre-season without a win - and possibly without Miller and Caprice for opener.

TRANMERE played out a 0-0 stalemate with Walsall in their final pre-season fixture of the summer - though this was a contest overshadowed by further injury troubles. Both Jake Caprice and Ishmael Miller saw their afternoons ended early, which now leaves Rovers particularly short on numbers ahead of next weekend's League One opener against Rochdale.

Tranmere and Walsall met at Prenton Park almost one year ago in the Carabao Cup, with the Saddlers a League One side at the time and Tranmere in League Two.

This encounter represented a role reversal, illustrating the progress made by Rovers in a short space of time.

The visitors were the first to conjure up a meaningful opportunity as Liam Kinsella's dipping shot from distance caught Scott Davies off guard.

But Tranmere soon made their way up the other end of the field and very nearly found the top right corner of the goal when Ollie Banks' curling effort drifted just past the post.

In truth, it was a particularly stop-start affair at Prenton Park. With rain continuing to flow, play was brought to a halt on a couple of occasions as the ground staff attempted to clear some of the excess water off the pitch.

With proceedings under way once again, Stefan Payne went in search of his first goal for the Whites when he drew a smart save from keeper Liam Roberts.

And Micky Mellon's men, again, were pressing for the game's opening strike when former Walsall man Kieron Morris brilliantly teed up Connor Jennings at the back-post, who miscued his effort.

The best chance of the half, though, fell in the favour of Saddlers striker Josh Gordon, who received a knock-down from Morgan Ferrier and somehow fired wide from close range when it seemed easier to score.

Five minutes before the break, David Perkins brilliantly dispossessed Alfie Bates in midfield, enabling Harvey Gilmour to pick up the ball and send a rising effort over the bar.

After the interval, proceedings became very flat.

There was little going on at either end of the pitch, with players continually battling for possession in midfield.

Strong challenges were a theme of the afternoon, and Caprice was on the receiving end of a late challenge, resulting in him limping down the tunnel.

Mellon made four changes in the second half, with Ishamel Miller, Darren Potter, Paul Mullin and Jordan Ponticelli all called into action, and Perkins, Jennings, Gilmour and Payne making way.

Not long after entering the fray, Miller came close with a headed effort that just rose over the top of the bar - and this would prove to be his only contribution.

Soon after this, the 32-year-old striker walked off the pitch in some discomfort, with Mellon confirming after the match that his injury is "not looking good".

Caprice, meanwhile, will be assessed in the next 24 hours.

TRANMERE: (4-3-3) Davies, Ridehalgh, Monthe, Ray, Caprice (Nelson 53), Perkins (Potter 67), Gilmour (Mullin 67), Banks, Morris, Jennings (Ponticelli 72), Payne (Miller 67). Subs not used: Pilling, Spellman, Walker-Rice.

WALSALL: (3-5-2) Roberts, Clarke (Scarr 45), Sadler, Cockerill-Mollett, Pring(Holden 58), Bates(McDonald 58), Kinsella (Sinclair 45), Liddle(Guthrie 58), Facey (Norman 58), Gordon, Ferrier(Hardy 58). Subs not used: Rose.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Banks. Did well to cut out Walsall's attacking advances.

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Picture: ||Paul Mullin in action against Walsall
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 28, 2019
Words:555
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