Jay Spearing believes Tranmere have “nothing to worry about” if they play to their best against Morecambe.
The Shrimps agonisingly missed out on automatic promotion on the final day of the Sky Bet League Two regular season, with Bolton finishing ahead of them by a single point.
Morecambe therefore settled for a play-off spot and will travel to Tranmere on Thursday in the semi-final first leg hoping for a similar outcome to the 1-0 win they achieved at Prenton Park last October.
However, Tranmere, who finished only five points behind Morecambe, prevailed by the same scoreline in the return fixture in January and Spearing is bullish about Rovers’ chances.
“We know that Morecambe are a very good side,” said the midfielder on Tranmere’s official website. “They have had an excellent season themselves and they will be confident too.
“They have got some really good players. Their gaffer has got them working hard for each other and they have had some fantastic results throughout the season, but it is now about who can hold their nerve over these two games.
“But I believe on a personal point of view, that if our players turn up over the next two games, which I’m sure that they will do, we will have nothing to worry about.
“We’ve had plenty of time to prepare, and we’ve had some tough, long sessions. We’ve enjoyed it and knuckled down and we’re ready to go. It will be a difficult test, but it is one that we are relishing.”
While Tranmere were controversially relegated last season on a points-per-game calculation, their promotions from the National League in 2017-18 and League Two in the following campaign came via the play-offs.
“If we go and play to anywhere near our maximum, we’ll get through the tie and get to Wembley,” said caretaker boss Ian Dawes, who took the reins after Keith Hill was sacked despite leading Tranmere to a top-seven finish.
“But we have to make sure we focus on the job at hand, we have two big games coming up.
“Tranmere have historically done it the hard way round through the play-offs, it’s the best way to go and get promoted, we have got to make sure that we win the play-offs and everyone is driven to the same goal.”
Morecambe boss Derek Adams feels the presence of fans puts a unique spin on the clash as well as Sunday’s return leg.
“I think that having supporters back is going to make it a different proposition,” he said on Morecambe’s website. “It’ll be great for the players to have an atmosphere in the stadium and it will be especially nice for the supporters being back.
“Having supporters back makes it interesting, it will help the tempo of the game and I’m sure it will be a quick start to the match.
“As soon as we get to the stadium there is going to be a buzz around the place. When the players go out for their warm-up it’s going to feel different.
“Both sets of supporters will have missed seeing their team play this year, I know that the players have missed having them in the stadium and it’s two really good games to look forward to.”