Your having a quiet pint of pub brewed Rusty ale in the wonderful Messrs Maquire in Dublin when your eye catches Sky Sports News on in the corner, 'Sawyer wishes to make Southend move permanent in January', and all the attempts to escape from talking things United for a few days fall into the Liffey. Let's hope there's some truth in that as well as a cracking farewell performance from Lee along with HRK.
They will be tough to replace.
Speaking to the Southend Evening Echo 19 year-old Robson-Kanu certainly wants to end his loan spell from Reading, 14 appearances over the last three months, in style: "With it being the last game of course you want to go out win. It's a hard game to finish with but if we work hard then we are certainly capable of getting the right result and that's what we're aiming for."
He has certainly been pleased by his own performances and at experiencing first team football: "As a young player you want to get games and that's what has happened for me at Southend. I've played regularly and that has certainly been good for my development. I've had a really good time and I think I've done well for Southend. You never know what can happen when you go out on loan but this has been excellent. The coaching staff have been pleased with what I've done and they have also been good for me, along with the fans."
As for the exodus that starts this weekend: "I think they can keep on doing well without the loan players. They have enough about them to push on and I know the aim is to get promotion which I feel is something they can do. I will be working hard back at Reading but you never know what can happen in football."
As for Blues boss Steve Tilson he wants his side to end their wretched record at Tranmere Rovers this weekend. Southend have triumphed just once in the last 18 years at Prenton Park: "We're doing well at the moment and we want to keep that going. Tranmere is always a tough place to go and they have been doing well again this season. They are a good side again this season but we're feeling good and want to get a good result there for a change."
Tilly is also well aware that the dynamic duo will return to their parent clubs after tomorrow's clash: "They will be wanting to go out with good performances. There is nothing we can do about them going back but we are looking at one or two possible replacements. There is no definite news on that yet though."
So the news that Barnard and Freedman are getting closer to a return to first team football is welcome news but someone is going to have to step up to the plate on the left hand side while Macca is going to get further chances to return to full match fitness.
As for the match at the weekend I'd be happy with a draw, their cup game played only 48 hours before the Blues for TV revenue might affect them, but with the loss of two of our best players after the final whistle a win and three points in the bank might be needed now in the run up to Christmas.
(A match report from the Liverpool Echo on the cup replay Thursday night which saw Tranmere beat Accrington Stanley 1-0 at Prenton Park live on satellite TV)
Tranmere squeezed into the second round of the FA Cup thanks to a 69th minute goal from winger Chris Shuker at Prenton Park last night. The narrow replay success over League Two battlers Accrington Stanley was less than a feast of football to set before a live armchair audience watching on satellite television.
But if Rovers did not impress even their own supporters, they at least got the job done without the need for extra time and penalties - the last thing manager Ronnie Moore and his team wanted with a League One fixture against Southend looming tomorrow afternoon. Their reward is a testing visit to League One promotion chasers Peterborough at the end of the month.
Accrington proved themselves to be as dogged opponents as they were in last Saturday's goalless game at the Crown Ground. They had their moments, particularly with a couple of efforts from former Tranmere midfielder John Mullin that forced Danny Coyne into sharp saves. But Tranmere shaded the contest of possession and pressure, just as they had in the first meeting, and just about deserved their success.
Tranmere, fielding the line-up that dominated the goalless first game last Saturday, were denied a fourth minute opener by the woodwork. Gareth Edds sent Ian Moore running into space on the edge of the box and the midfielder's chip shot left goalkeeper Kenny Arthur stranded and struck the face of the crossbar before bouncing to safety.
Accrington made a positive response eight minutes later when Mullin cut into the box on a run from the right and drove in a fierce left-foot shot that goalkeeper Danny Coyne pushed out at full stretch.
Tranmere threatened again on 29 minutes when Ryan Shotton's fierce cross from the right was knocked out of the path of Bas Savage by a defender and Moore fired the loose ball over the bar from 15 yards. A minute later, a low free kick from James Ryan ricocheted off the heel of a defender in a crowded home penalty area and skidded just wide of the left hand post.
With neither side venturing to break out from their 4-5-1 formation during the first half, scoring opportunities had to be worked hard for and there was little excitement. Ben Chorley, tempted into trying his luck from more than 30 yards, thudded a shot into the chest of Arthur on 41 minutes.
Manager Ronnie Moore made a change of personnel and tactics at half-time, replacing Gareth Edds with Ed Sonko. The Gambian took station on the left wing while Ian Moore moved up front to partner Savage in a 4-4-2 formation.
However it was the visitors who threatened first in the second half when big target man Paul Mullin was able to turn on a long throw from the right by James Ryan and lift a shot high over the bar from eight yards.
The home supporters were beginning to voice their frustration as the game passed the hour mark.
Tranmere were saved by the woodwork on 68 minutes when a free kick from the left by Ryan bounced through a crowded goalmouth and struck the foot of the far post. The let-off gave Tranmere the spur they needed to break the deadlock a minute later.
Midfielder Steve Jennings seized on a loose pass in midfield to surge forward. A well-laid ball found Shuker galloping into the box on his left and the winger finished cleverly with a shot lifted high into the net before he collided painfully with defender Kieran Charnock.
John Mullin, attempting a quick reply with a low shot struck on the run from the edge of the box, was thwarted by Coyne' diving save on 71 minutes.
Two minutes later Shuker limped off to be replaced by Chris Greenacre. But the striker soon had a penalty appeal turned down after being floored in the box.
With the game moving into stoppage time Greenacre was denied by a fine save from Arthur.
TRANMERE: Coyne, Shotton, Chorley, Kay, Taylor, Moore, Jennings, Barnett, Edds, Shuker (Greenacre, 73), Savage. Not used: Achterburg, Antwi, Holmes, Cresswell, Henry.
ACCRINGTON: Arthur, Williams, (Murdock, 8. (Smith, 82)), Charnock, Edwards, King, Ryan, Miles (Richardson, 66), J Mullin, Proctor, Griffiths, P Mullin. Not used: Speare, Burey, Bell, Turner.PREVIOUSLY
Played 44: Won 12 Drawn 12 Lost 20.
Tranmere (11/8) Draw (12/5) Southend (11/5)
Bet of the Day: Huddersfield 6/1 to win at Leeds, local derby, could be a surprise and at that price?
At the opposite end, away fans are housed in another relatively new stand called the Cowshed. This single tiered stand looks a little strange as one side of it has more rows than the other, giving a sloping effect. It has an electric scoreboard on its roof. On the other side is the John King Stand (formerly the Borough Road Stand), which is small covered stand that runs the entire length of the pitch.
After a long campaign by Tranmere fans, the large Kop End is now purely for home fans. Away fans are housed in the opposite end, the affectionately named Cowshed. However, you will be relieved that the only connection with a real cowshed is the name, as the fairly new covered, all seated stand, has good facilities and unhindered views of the playing action. It can hold up to 2,500 fans.
TLG recommends Rock Ferry station from Liverpool Lime Street but for information on getting to the game by all forms of transport including times, prices and maps, go to Last Call to Tranmere: www.thelittlegazette.com/news/loadsngl.asp?cid=EDW4&id=416446
PUB & PIES
For the best pubs to visit and grab a pie to eat go to Last Orders on the Mersey: www.thelittlegazette.com/news/loadsngl.asp?cid=EDW8&id=416447
Tranmere play their home games at Prenton Park. The club has faced years of strong competition for both players and supporters from the two much bigger local clubs - Liverpool and Everton, which is why they play many of their home fixtures on a Friday night.
Between 1991 and 2001 they were in the second tier of the English league, reaching the playoffs three times and the League Cup final once before being relegated. John Aldridge, the former Liverpool striker who scored nearly 500 goals in his professional career, was appointed player-manager of Tranmere in March 1996 and remained at the helm for five years, although he hung up his boots in 1998. His predecessor was John King, who took Rovers from the brink of losing their league status to the brink of reaching the Premiership.
Dave Watson and Ray Mathias came and went after Aldridge when, in October 2003, Tranmere turned to, yes, Brian Little, the man who took Wrexham out of the league this week, as their new manager. Little had previously achieved promotion success with Darlington (twice) and Leicester, as well as leading Aston Villa to League Cup success in 1996. Following Brian Little's resignation, Ronnie Moore was appointed manager in June 2006, from Oldham Athletic.
In the close season before 2006/07, Moore signed the ex-Rovers Welsh international goalkeeper Danny Coyne as well as defensive duo Anthony Kay and Ben Chorley. Midfielder Adnan Ahmed was also signed from Huddersfield Town. On 6 October 2007, after their 2-1 win at the home of football, they reached the top of the League One table, on goal difference, with 19 points from 10 games.
However, their stay at the top only lasted for one week, and began a dreadful run of only four victories in the next sixteen league games which saw the team slide steadily into mid-table. A big factor in this loss of form was long-term injuries to both of the team's first choice wingers, Steve Davies and Chris Shuker, severely limiting the team's attacking options. The situation was remedied by tactical reorganisation on Moore's part, boosted by the loan acquisition of two promising youngsters from higher division clubs, Blackburn's Andy Taylor and Bristol City's Jennison Myrie-Williams, along with the return of manager's son Ian Moore, who had started his career at Tranmere.
Rovers' form began to pick up following a 1-0 victory at Millwall on January 19th, the start of an unbeaten run that as of 23rd February 2008 had lasted 8 matches and seen the team climb back into the play-off zone. However, another poor run saw them drop out of the top six and they ended up finishing 11th with 65 points, and were 11 points short of a playoff place
Ronnie Moore signed a new 2 year deal keeping him at the club until 2010.