MANAGER Ronnie Moore says his young Tranmere side have lessons to learn but no reason to be discouraged after two defeats in four days checked the momentum of their flying start to the season.
Rovers go into the League One encounter with Preston North End at Prenton Park on Saturday with their lead at the top of the table cut to a single point, following losses at Bournemouth last weekend and at home to Doncaster on Tuesday night.
Moore admitted to being “shocked” by the injury time strike from Doncaster’s Iain Hume that consigned Tranmere to a 2-1 defeat in a game they dominated.
“Losing matches is a hard lesson and we have to learn that we must stay tight once we get ourselves back into a game,” Moore said. “We were constantly on the attack but I’ve always said that when we’re attacking, we have to be defending as well, alert to being caught.
“I said to our lads before the game that good sides don’t lose two matches on the bounce. We are a good side and it has happened. We have to put that right on Saturday.”
Moore added: “The doubters will be having their say about us now but the same performance against Preston would be good – we just need a different result.”
Tranmere had to be content with the consolation of a post match remark from Doncaster chairman John Ryan, who described the hosts as “the best side we have played this season.”
Moore said: “I know John really well. He’s a good man and says it how he sees it. We will probably play as Doncaster did on Tuesday and sneak a win somewhere this season. But that does not make me feel any better at the moment.”
Tranmere brought midfielder Andy Robinson back into the side on Tuesday following a three-game absence with a hamstring injury. The 32-year-old demonstrated his creative powers are undiminished but was withdrawn after 70 minutes.
Moore said: “Robbo showed what he is worth to us. In the first half, everything we did going forward went through him. He was carrying the injury a little bit and he was worrying it might go, which was the last thing we want. So we took him off.”
Tranmere had to start without Jake Jervis. The young striker who signed on loan from Birmingham City last weekend sustained an ankle injury at Bournemouth that is likely to keep him out for a fortnight.
Jake Cassidy’s 87th minute equaliser against Doncaster was the ninth goal of the season for the teenage striker.
The Tranmere substitutes bench included Ian Goodison.
The veteran Jamaican centre-back has yet to play a first-team game this season after undergoing a knee operation in the summer and is now putting pressure on the central defensive partnership of Ash Taylor and Ben Gibson.
Preston’s line-up on Saturday could include two players, full-back David Buchanan and midfielder John Welsh, who were first-team regulars with Tranmere last season.
Tranmere’s FA Cup first round tie at Braintree will be broadcast live on ITV1 on Sunday November 4, kick-off 12.30pm.