It’s a scenario few Newcastle fans would have predicted after three games, that Eddie Howe’s men would be unbeaten and up in sixth, given one of their opening three opponents came in the guise of defender Premier League champions Manchester City, but it’s been a more-than-convincing start to the campaign for the Tynesiders, who will look to keep that fledgling momentum going in midweek.
The brief for Howe before a ball was kicked this season was unquestionably to breach the division’s upper slopes and claim 2022/23’s ‘best of the rest’ title which, these days, seems to be enough to get you into Europe, but the English tactician will no doubt harbour his own aspirations of clinching major managerial silverware, and this EFL Cup represents a perfect opportunity for him to realise that ambition.
Tranmere offer a potential banana skin fixture for the travelling Magpies. Micky Mellon’s men are hovering precariously down in 17th in the League Two table and are entering this match-up off the back of a 2-1 loss to Newport County. The Merseyside club will have their own dreams of shooting up the table and asking questions of the play-off spots, but a challenge against Premier League opposition will no doubt be one they’re relishing.
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Tranmere vs Newcastle match stats
Incredibly, only Chelsea (30), Tottenham Hotspur (23) and Manchester City (20) have taken more corners than Newcastle (19) in the Premier League this season, so expect plenty of aerial balls into the box, and one man will be relishing that prospect in towering Kiwi Chris Wood. Since returning to the Premier League in 2017/18, only Harry Kane (22) and Dominic Calvert-Lewin (19) have netted more headed goals than Wood (18), an incredible 35% of his total output in that time frame.
28 Feb 1993 – Tranmere 0-3 Newcastle – League Division One
10 Oct 1992 – Newcastle 1-0 Tranmere – League Division One
It’s been 22 years since these sides last met. That showdown over two decades ago was a highly entertaining one as Sir Bobby Robson’s men triumphed in Round Six which, back then, was the phase just before the semi-finals. Goals from the late Gary Speed, Didier Domi and Duncan Ferguson got the job done at Prenton Park.